Can Gender Influence One’s Preferences in Playing Digital Games?

Playing Digital Games
Ilustrastion Gender Influence One's Preferences in Playing Digital Games (Source: Social Media by

In this modern era, everyone must be familiar with digital games. This digital game is a term that refers to any game played using electronic devices, either online or independently.

At the beginning of its development, digital games were still considered “boys’ toys” or, at least, an area in the media world that had a very strong male bias (Lucas and Sherry, 2004).

This assumption is, to some extent, outdated, as it empirically contradicts the fact that currently the number of girls and women playing digital games is almost the same as that of boys and men (Vermeulen and Van Looy, 2016; Paaßen et al., 2017; see Melzer, 2018 for an overview).

However, that doesn’t mean that gender differences in digital games cannot be found. Empirically, women and men differ in what and how they play (e.g., Williams et al., 2009; Greenberg et al., 2010; Poels et al., 2012; Rehbein et al., 2016; Lange and Schwab, 2018; Melzer, 2018).

In recent years, there has been a lot of research on gender and genre preferences in playing digital games, but until now, there has been no research on gender that discusses media preferences.

Early research suggests that men and boys tend to be driven by the desire for competition and the violent content of games, while girls focus more on the social aspects of games (Brunner, Bennett, & Honey, 1998).

Males tend to show a higher preference for observing or participating in conflict and its resolution through violence than females.

They are interested in game characteristics that show the strength of male characters in saving female characters who act as weak victims in the game and single-player games that are oriented towards competition and action, such as action films or sports broadcasts. Meanwhile, females find non-violent entertainment, such as comedies or sad films, more attractive (Oliver, Weaver, & Sargent, 2000).

They also value games that contain a lot of meaningful dialogue and character interactions and are less interested in action-oriented formats with people who are quiet and ignore each other (e.g., Mayer, 2003).

The relationship between gender and a person’s preferences for playing games is really interesting, isn’t it? It’s interesting how gender can influence someone’s choice of genre, content, and game structure. It looks simple, but with this simple insight, game producers can determine their target market or consumers.


Author: Nadaa Nisriinaa
Psychology Student, Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia

Editor: Salwa Alifah Yusrina
Bahasa: Rahmat Al Kafi



Lange, B. P., Wuhr, P., & Schwarz, S. (2021). Of Time Gals and Mega Men: Empirical Findings on Gender Differences in Digital Game Genre Preferences and the Accuracy of Respective Gender Stereotypes. Journal Frontiers in Psychology, 12:657430. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.657430

Tomlison, Christine. (2019). Building a Gamer: Player Preferences and Motivations Across Gender and Genre. Proceedings of DiGRA 2019.

Hartmann, T., & Klimmt, C. (2006). Gender and Computer Games: Exploring Females’ Dislikes. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. (2006) 910–931. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2006.00301.x

Tondello, G. F., & Nacke, L. E. (2019). Player Characteristics and Video Game Preferences. ISBN 978-1-4503-6688-5/19/10. DOI:


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