Female Gamers Push the Video Game Industry to Unprecedented Levels

Video Game sales surpass Film and Music Combined

The video game industry is seeing an unprecedented surge in revenue thanks in part to women gamers. This makes it unsurprising to see women stepping into C-suite roles at gaming companies.

Video game revenue growth will eventually create a $321 billion dollar industry over the next three years according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2022–2026.

To put that massive number in perspective, in 2021 alone video game revenue (excluding esports) reached $214.2 billion. Compare that to the movie industry whose combined global theatrical and home/mobile entertainment totaled $99.7 billion and the music industry’s $25.9 billion during the same time period and you can see just how dominant gaming currently is.

The biggest area of growth - female gamers! According to a new report in 2022 from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) 48% of people who play games identify as female, a sharp increase from just 40% in 2020.

Close up of a female eSports team competing in an eSports tournament at an eSports Venue
Close up of a female eSports team competing in an eSports tournament at an eSports Venue

Female Gamers leading the Growth

“The game industry is only 2% Black. Even though a higher percentage of the Black population plays than the average population. Even for women in gaming now I think we're up to 50%,” said Jessica Murrey, CEO & Co-Founder of Wicked Saints Studios. “And in mobile games there's actually more female gamers than there are male gamers. And you know, female gamers play more, they pay more, they play longer.”

Murrey spoke to Built By Girls for our second season of "How I Started In STEM" and shed some light on her interesting if not circuitous path to her current role as a game creator.

After winning a regional Emmy at the age of twenty-four for her work and coverage of community issues in the Northwest she began working for Search for Common Ground, the world’s largest dedicated conflict resolution organization. It was through her work with the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated organization that Murrey was able to train young activists in some of the most hostile places on Earth.

“The passion that still drives me today is really young people in this next generation. I imagine a world where we can pick up the broken pieces of this world and build a new world,” explains Murrey. “And that's the power that I feel this generation has. There's so many young people, so many young girls out there that are powerful and don't know that they are. And so with the game design and with STEM and with technology, my hope and dream is that they'll see how incredible they are. They'll see their own power and their sense of identity and just start changing the world.”

Upon returning home, Murrey took what she learned from traversing the world, tackling everything from violent extremism to prevention of mass atrocities and gender-based violence and paired that with her love of storytelling to dream up a better world…one she herself could create!

“There's a ton of money in games. About half of that revenue actually goes to mobile games. And in the mobile game industry, 55% of mobile game players are female,” said Murrey.

“I think for a long time there's been this perception that guys play games and finally now they're getting more and more stats that actually show the truth is that more and more women and more and more are female non-binary, they're playing games more and loving it. I think that studios are starting to see that there's money in untapped huge markets and so more and more studios are looking to diversify their teams.”

HISIS Social Jess Murrey
HISIS Social Jess Murrey

Building a Better World

Murrey Co-Founded Wicked Saints Studios, a mobile gaming company, to make games with a positive message for change. The company believes the best way to do good is through Common Ground Activism. Whether it’s race issues, climate change, health, poverty, or education their message is simple - “we have to be able to collaboratively solve problems if we’re going to make any progress. It’s about attacking the problem, not the person.”

Enter the realm of Wicked Saints’ World Reborn. A blended-reality story game with graphic novel-style visuals and mixed-reality AR technology. It is the world’s first adventure-activism game (be sure to join the Discord and check out the Beta). The augmented reality world invites people of all genders, ages, religions and political viewpoints. With the mission statement that lasting change only comes when those with different viewpoints work together to achieve genius solutions for the greater good, World Reborn hopes to use the popularity of video games to make our real world a better place.

“I'm able to pull from my other skill sets of building movements and grassroots movements and organizers and to actually insert it not just in like the marketing of my game, but it's built into it. And so right now I believe that we have a blue ocean opportunity to do something really special in a space where people are abandoning it because it's changed,” said Murrey. “But there's so much opportunity. Did you know, Gen Z spends 40% more time in game environments than any other form of media and pretty soon brands are gonna realize this.”

More to check out:

How I Started in STEM: Capital One SVP on how to get your seat at “the table”

How I Started In STEM: How Ms. Pac-Man launched a career for Debbie Ferguson

How I Started in STEM: Helping Shape the Next Generation of Minds Through STEM