A December 2005 survey of Gamers in the UK revealed some interesting (though not unexpected, to me, anyway) information about the breakdown (age/gender/etc) of people who play games.
Of particular note was their conclusion about gender based on the survey results:
The Gender Split
Contrary to popular belief, the gender split between gamers is fairly even across all age groups. Although female gamers never overtake their male counterpart, the figures are particularly even in the youngest and oldest gaming groups. Between the ages of 16-35 the ratio of males ot females is slightly higher, but the stereotype of a larger gender gap in gamers – in any age group – is untrue.
Females and males do hoewver display some different preferences in gaming categories. Simulations and MMOGs perform equally well with males and females, while RPGs and Strategy fare only marginally better with males. Females then show strong approval for Music/Dance, Puzzles/Board/Quiz, and Classic games. Males show strong approval for Action-Adventure, Racing, Sports, and First Person Shooters. Simuolations and MMOGs seem to be be key to attracting audiences of both genders equally: Sports and Shooting category games generally hold the lowest appeal for females, although it should be noted that this doesn’t mean they have no appeal: 12% of females play First Person Shooters.
I wonder if a comprehensive survey in the US would corroborate these findings, or show significant differences. After hearing so many people talk about how women are in a vast minoritiy in MMOs (a statement I’ve only found to be true in World of Warcraft, at least on the PvP server my main was on), I have to say it pleases me to see that in the UK, and perhaps elsewhere, the statement is indeed a fallacy.