In a challenge to the stereotypical view that internet gamers are mostly teenaged boys, new research has claimed that over two thirds of online gamers are women.
Nielsen Entertainment's third annual Active Gamer Benchmark Study reports that 64 per cent of US internet gamers are female.
Of roughly 117 million gamers that the study estimates are currently active in the US, half play games online.
And while gaming has conventionally been thought of as a solitary experience, the study reveals that active gamers spend upwards of five hours a week playing games socially, led by teenagers who are "socially involved" in gaming for about seven hours a week.
The research also shows that, although teenagers continue to comprise the largest percentage of active gamers, more than 15 million of these gamers, almost eight per cent, are now 45 or older.
While women make up nearly two-thirds of all online gamers, men still outnumber women in the overall video game universe by more than two to one.
Although older females make up the largest percentage of casual gamers, active gamer teens and young adults also comprise a considerable portion of this market, with more than half playing casual games an hour or more a week.
Demonstrating a loyal fan base, the majority of active gamers who say they usually pre-order a title, or buy it the first day of its release, choose role-playing games.
But, while such games typically are thought of as catering to the older gaming audience, they are the most popular genre among active game playing teens.
Emily Della Maggiora, senior vice president of Nielsen Entertainment, said: "The expansion of next-generation hardware and technology in the marketplace is delivering new ecosystems of social exchange, interactive entertainment, media experiences and advertising models.
"We see everyday how important online gaming is in terms of connecting people and bringing communities of gamers together.
"From a simple battle in Halo to a more immersive communal experience, online gaming has the power to unite gamers across the street and/or around the world. "
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