A new study has found that when it comes to the most popular games on mobile devices, male gamers are more likely to play the most violent video games.
According to researchers who studied the titles in the top 100 charts on Google Play — a number which included all the most popular games for smartphones, tablets and computers — males are more than twice as likely to play games in which the player kills others using guns, knives, or blades.
The researchers concluded that there was a “sex difference” between these sorts of games and other games “characterized by more subtle violence, and less aggressive characterization”.
The findings, which were published in the journal Media Psychology, were part of the study of more than 12,000 mobile and tablet buyers, which was conducted by the American Advertising Research Foundation in cooperation with the Association of National Advertisers.
Most popular games using firearms
The study looked at the titles people played in the past 30 days, and discovered that the most popular violent video games in which players used firearms were Killzone: Shadow Fall, Grand Theft Auto V, and Far Cry 3 — all of which are heavily violent.
In comparison, games were more likely to include other violent play themes or characters if they were designed as “casual”. For example, players were much more likely to play with “bad punsters” such as Super Mario and Captain Toad in Mario Party than if they had played the more typical titles where the gamer killed others outright.
Stereotyping female gamers
There’s a general stereotype that females are more inclined to play casual games, when in fact this is not true. The results provide further confirmation that women are in a very important consumer segment for most advertisers and publishers.
However, the finding also came with caveats.
The study revealed that gamers were more likely to play violent video games if the character they were playing resembled “someone close to them in age, ethnicity or gender”. If this was the case, then it could be argued that males are more likely to play games where male characters are killed on-screen.
For example, games where men kill other men could have become more popular if the games contained male protagonists who were less aggressive. But the sex difference did seem to be limited. For example, the average male gamer bought 13.4 violent games per month, compared to 3.8 for the average female gamer