According to a new study about what motivates gamers to play, female gamers are motivated by fantasy while male gamers prefer destruction. The study, by game analytics firm Quantic Foundry, also reveals the primary motivators for non-binary gamers.
To collect the data, over 250,000 gamers took part in a 5-minute survey allowing them “to get a personalized report of their gaming motivations, and see how they compare with other gamers.”
Different Genders Have Different Gaming Interests
In a post on the Quantic Foundry website, the firm explains that the two primary motivators for female gamers are completion (“get all stars/collectibles, complete all missions”) and fantasy (“being someone else, somewhere else”), while excitement (“fast-paced, action, surprises, thrills”) and challenge (“practice, high difficulty missions”) were lowest on the list. The firm notes that the top three motivators for women “cover almost half of female gamers (at 47.7%).”
For male gamers, the two primary motivators are competition (“duels, matches, high on rankings”) and destruction (“guns, explosives, chaos, mayhem”) with discovery (“explore, tinker, experiment”) and power (“powerful character, gear, stats”) being at the bottom of the list. The top three motivators for men covered just over a third (36.2%).
Non-binary gamers made up just 1.1% of those surveyed (2,819 gamers), though Quantic Foundry describes the non-binary gamer category as “a catch-all category that covers a large set of gender identity labels.” The firm found that non-binary gamers are motivated by fantasy as well as design (“expressing individuality, customization”) with power and excitement at the bottom of the list.
While it would be interesting to know how things broke down in terms of those gender identity labels, it should be noted that the top three motivators for non-binary gamers covered over half (50.2%).
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the data is that for game developers and publishers aiming to encourage women and non-binary people to play their gamers, it takes more than just introducing a playable female character or a non-binary character. Representation is important but specifically appealing to that group’s interests is also a major factor in getting them to play.
When in doubt, though, when companies want to appeal to everyone or aren’t sure how to appeal to a specific group, Quantic Foundry’s data suggests that completion is the “most low-risk, high-reward motivation.” The motivator is “always in the top 3” when “comparing gender or age segments.”