A Quick Look At EN World's Demographics

I use Google Analytics to track this website's performance, and especially to get some insight into usage patterns and (anonymized aggregate) demographic data. Here's a quick look at the reports for the last month. I grabbed a few snapshots of total users, gender and age demographics, and location data by country. There are no great surprises: traffic is healthy (although this is by no means the best month so far this year - one month had over 450K unique active users), the percentage of female visitors is still terrible low - far too low - and the US is by far the largest single country of origin. That last item is interesting - the amount of non-US traffic has increased a lot across the board over the last couple of years, and while the US traffic has increased in terms of raw numbers, it has decreased by about 15% in terms of percentage share. In other words, there's lots of new traffic coming in from other countries.


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Russ Morrissey

Comments

WackyAnne

Villager
I'm a Canadian female in my late thirties, but sometimes read this site from my husband's computer rather than my own (he's got a bigger screen, but mine is portable enough to bring as my DM screen).
Trust me, gaming women are not rare at all. Neither are gaming women rare on the internet. But given the experiences we've (almost) all had, especially over the couple year, many of us tend to keep a lower profile, or stick to groups where we can be ourselves, comfortably.
I love ENWorld, almost always feel comfortable here, and hope to see a better showing of women. I really hope that those visitor stats are skewed, but I can't say for sure that they aren't. I know it's not uncommon to declare as either male or no gender for many women in some forums, depending on the level of comfort, so that may skew the stats.
 

Hussar

Legend
But even if I he stats are skewed which I agree is entirely possible, how much skew are we talking about? Enough to to shift the needle twenty or thirty percent?
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
I'm a Canadian female in my late thirties, but sometimes read this site from my husband's computer rather than my own (he's got a bigger screen, but mine is portable enough to bring as my DM screen).
Trust me, gaming women are not rare at all. Neither are gaming women rare on the internet. But given the experiences we've (almost) all had, especially over the couple year, many of us tend to keep a lower profile, or stick to groups where we can be ourselves, comfortably.
I love ENWorld, almost always feel comfortable here, and hope to see a better showing of women. I really hope that those visitor stats are skewed, but I can't say for sure that they aren't. I know it's not uncommon to declare as either male or no gender for many women in some forums, depending on the level of comfort, so that may skew the stats.
It's a shame, too, because in my experience, having both men and women at the game table adds positively to the gaming experience. I've seen it in home games, and at game days and conventions, it often gives the table a sense of dynamism that is sometimes missing when it's a "boy's club". It's also cool when new players, male or female, can be added into the mix, because the sense of enthusiasm can add, and the fresh perspective, can be a joy to watch.

It can be difficult, however, to convince female players that some male-dominated player spaces are safe spaces, because so many guy gamers either try so hard they overcompensate and come off creepy, or go the other way and don't try at all, or some just go full-on misogynistic to keep the status quo, when the solution isn't really more than a modicum of common courtesy and respect.
 

Demonica

Villager
I am female in late twenties from Czech Republic which is small country with 10 millions habitant. I´m playing RPG tabletop games about 10 years and I have very positive experience from latest years that woman are joining more home games and also opengaming games. And on our local rpg forum we have also several active woman. So I´m positive about the future.
 

Kramodlog

Adventurer
Those are reports on the developing world. There is little overlap between those countries and tabletop RPGs.
Fortunately, I'm not saying it is indicative of tabletop RPGs.

What I am saying, is that I wonder if EW's percentage of women who come to the site, 6% , reflect the number of women who play tabletop RPGs or if there are more women who play tabletop RPGS. Since more men use the net, the number of women on EW might not represent the number of women who play RPGs. That number might be bigger.
 

Hussar

Legend
Fortunately, I'm not saying it is indicative of tabletop RPGs.

What I am saying, is that I wonder if EW's percentage of women who come to the site, 6% , reflect the number of women who play tabletop RPGs or if there are more women who play tabletop RPGS. Since more men use the net, the number of women on EW might not represent the number of women who play RPGs. That number might be bigger.
But, even using your own articles, the difference in gender use is pretty slight. A six or eight per cent difference in Internet users shouldn't translate into a 90% difference on an RPG site.
 

Kramodlog

Adventurer
But, even using your own articles, the difference in gender use is pretty slight. A six or eight per cent difference in Internet users shouldn't translate into a 90% difference on an RPG site.
Since there are less women on the net, 6% shouldn't represent how many women play RPGs, no? Maybe women represent 12% or 15% or 20% of RPG gamers, not 6%.

Or maybe only 6% of gamers are women.
 

Hussar

Legend
I think that's my point [MENTION=55961]goldomark[/MENTION]. Even if the skew is 20%, that's still 4:1 dudes to dudettes. Not exactly stellar.
 

Celebrim

Legend
The 95/5 split would represent roughly the demographics of RPGs circa 1985. I'd be both surprised if the modern demographics are the same, or that they had shifted greatly from that. My guess is that real percentage of female RPG gamers is round 10-15%.

What is probably the cause of the under representation is not activity but level of interest. Nerddom has a certain obsessiveness to it that I think skews male.

In my experience the largest percentage of female gamers always tends toward significant others and family members of a male gamer.

I've got a daughter that has the personality for it and interest in gaming, but I'm fairly sure that she's not going to find enough girls of like interest to have an RPG group and ultimately she's likely to have more friends that are boys than girls. Already she's socially suffering because in her peer group there is a mass falling away from the casual live action RP (make believe) she's preferred as play in favor of more traditional girl interests, and I'm not silly enough to believe that no biology is at play in that. For one thing, it amounts to suggesting that things that men are traditionally interested in are more worthy of approval and important.

I was watching a documentary about a young girl's attempt to sail around the world solo, and it became clear to me very early on that it was never going to happen. Because while the girl did enjoy sailing, it was clear very early on that even more than she enjoyed sailing, she enjoyed having an activity that she could share in with her father and receive his full interest and approval. Without her family members with her, particularly her father, it simply wasn't something she enjoyed enough on its own to make it worth the difficulties there of.

And that's my impression of 3/4's of the women playing RPGs. They enjoy it. But if it wasn't for the fact that this was something that brought them closer to their male friends and loved ones, most wouldn't do it. So it's possible that even if the split is now 80/20 or something, that 3/4's of the women playing aren't involved enough to bother coming to someplace like EnWorld.

Personally, I prefer a mixed table, but I admit its now been a long time since I've had one. My own personal preferences of play are highly eclectic. I feel cheated when a game is only dramatic, only tactical, only puzzle-solving, or lacks exploration both of theme, character and space. When a group skews male only, it tends to skew toward a single style of play and the game for me tends to feel less cooperative, as the players tend to view the game largely as a competition between themselves and me, rather than something we are creating together. Moreover, all male groups in my experience don't learn to play. They mostly unlearn to play, so that over time the quality of play tends to deteriorate and become less playful. I'm certainly seeing this in my own group. Intra-party play is increasingly over time taking a confrontational, combative, defensive approach that is highly focused on essentially bullying the other PC/player to achieve some end, rather than any sort of character based or emotional exploration. And that's largely because the role-play itself is not taken to be the point by the player, but rather solely as a means to an end ("winning"). Ironically, this approach means that the player is less likely to achieve meta-goals than if they took more expressive, exploratory and less confrontational approaches.

I don't know how many times I get approached by supposedly mature experienced male RPers concerning some metagoal that they have and how they should go about accomplishing it, when my advice to them basically amounts to, "If this is such an important goal for you, why haven't you in any way directed play in character toward these goals. You've never explored the environment for this purpose. Never searched, questioned, or interacted with an NPC in a way that made clear that you were looking for this thing. If you want to find this sort of thing, you are going to have to actively steer toward that goal. I'm not simply going to put the group on rails and plop you down where you want to be." I've never had to say that to a female gamer.

Stereotypes? Yeah, probably. But I'm not sure they are unfair stereotypes. They are limited only in the sense you always no more by finding out who an individual is than you know by simply knowing which aggregate group they belong to. There are always exceptions to the mode and the mean, and mainly you get in trouble when you start thinking the mode or the mean is all there is or all that should be.
 

The Hitcher

Villager
Because I was interested, I adjusted the top 10 visitor country-of-origin list for population. Here's how it looks (number is visitors per 1,000,000 population):

  1. Canada (1622)
  2. US (1357)
  3. Australia (1093)
  4. UK (679)
  5. Netherlands (531)
  6. Italy (211)
  7. Germany (201)
  8. Spain (143)
  9. France (122)
  10. Brazil (72)
 

SunGold

Villager
I very much doubt that 6% is accurate.

After looking at the Google Analytics info Morrus linked, I'd bet money that I'm "profiled" as male (given that I mostly visit sites like Ars Technica, io9, etc.), although I'm not.

Also, this:
Trust me, gaming women are not rare at all. Neither are gaming women rare on the internet. But given the experiences we've (almost) all had, especially over the couple year, many of us tend to keep a lower profile, or stick to groups where we can be ourselves, comfortably.
I don't mind mentioning my gender in this thread, where it's relevant, but it's no accident that my username and avatar are gender neutral, or that it's left off my profile.
 

Koloth

Villager
I wonder how the analytics are skewed by folks running script blockers? I am guessing the technically oriented folks are more likely to be running such things. Does Google have some assumed default if it can't get a read on a user?
 

smiteworks

Explorer
I very much doubt that 6% is accurate.

After looking at the Google Analytics info Morrus linked, I'd bet money that I'm "profiled" as male (given that I mostly visit sites like Ars Technica, io9, etc.), although I'm not.

Also, this:
I don't mind mentioning my gender in this thread, where it's relevant, but it's no accident that my username and avatar are gender neutral, or that it's left off my profile.
I really hope that is the case, because our gender stats suck for our site too. The only positive I see if the stats are true is that there could possibly be some sort of elusive "thing" that we would find that would suddenly put us on the radar for women gamers and our population would magically double.
 

Gradine

Archivist
I know a lot of female gamers (tabletop, video games, or otherwise), probably more than males. That said, my female gamer friends are MUCH more likely to avoid online gaming communities, for reasons I really can't blame them for. So while I'm sure that Google's analytics are skewed, I'm not sure exactly how skewed they really are.

The age thing doesn't shock me at all. I'm 30 and older than most of my tabletop gamer friends. Between the ubiquitous nature of video & computer games, the prevalence of high school and college gaming groups, and the grief popularity of Geek & Sundry it really doesn't shock me at all that gaming is trending younger. Younger gamers are also, presumably, going to have more time on their hands to engage in online communities.
 

Guyanthalas

Villager
Lots of potential distortion, for many different reasons. My "gaming group" consists of 3.5 games running (one of them is irregular at best), and has 12 people across those games. 5 of those players are female. One of the females is a DM for one of the games. So do we break the curve?

I'd assert that we do not at all. Because of those 12 aforementioned players, I'm the only one who frequents EN world (I'm male). The others look at it, but usually only because I've linked them to a relevant article or discussion.

So I'm going to make a broad generalization here (I couldn't resist the pun). My experience is that the girls do not care about joining a larger community, or frequenting one, because they don't enjoy discussing the rules as much. In fact, they generally hate it (so much that we've had to specifically address it) when doing the typical "rules lawyers" activities. They want to play the game, make the jokes, and be with friends. They don't give a burned bra about hashing out the latest "sage advice" ranger preview. Again, this is data taken from my extremely small sample size, so your mileage may vary (and with many good reasons).

But, regardless of the reason, if more girls are playing the game... Why are they not here, and how do you entice them to participate more in the online/global community?
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I wonder how the analytics are skewed by folks running script blockers? I am guessing the technically oriented folks are more likely to be running such things. Does Google have some assumed default if it can't get a read on a user?
I'd be interested in this too. Notwithstanding my work computer, I always run script blockers when I'm online, and Google Analytics is on my permanent ban list.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I very much doubt that 6% is accurate.

After looking at the Google Analytics info Morrus linked, I'd bet money that I'm "profiled" as male (given that I mostly visit sites like Ars Technica, io9, etc.), although I'm not.
Ok. Now I'm curious. If you are willing to share, I believe you can find out here:

https://www.google.com/settings/u/0/ads/authenticated?hl=en

For reasons I fail to understand, Google thinks I'm interested in "East Asian Music" (what?), "Make-Up & Cosmetics", "Hygiene & Toiletries", and "Mobile Phones".
 
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