Pune: Women increasingly rape the traditionally male bastion of video games. During the pandemic, there was a surge of female gamers, especially those who made a profession out of it.
A recent report by the All India Gaming Federation found that there were 365 million online gamers in the country in 2020, with the number expected to reach 510 million by 2022, with corresponding growth in the number of female gamers.
According to the “Think with Google APAC – Play Like a Girl, 2020” report, the number of women in India who have started using the internet on their smartphones has increased from 19% to 42% each year. Of these, 95% use smartphones to play games, indicating huge potential for growth in the Asian market.
Rashi Agarwal (25) remembers how her younger brother hooked her to ‘Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (or PUBG)’ during last year’s lockdown. She now spends a few hours playing the game after work every day. âIt was a great way to talk to friends and play together. The female player community, including those who play professionally, is growing rapidly. It has become normal to have one or more women on your team, âshe said.
The players cover the genres: adventure, first-person shooters, multiplayer online combat arenas, survivalist horror, virtual sports or strategy.
Monisha Dewani (25) made a point of trying new games on different platforms during the year. âRight now it’s easier for a woman to become a player. Viewers are more interested in seeing a woman’s gameplay or live broadcast for the novelty, âshe said.
Mitsu Chavda (29), esports influencer and legal advisor, was introduced to the world of multiplayer gaming through first-generation Counter Strike while growing up. Today she is popular as “Queen Hawk” or “iDramaQueen” among those who play “Free Fire” or “Call of Duty (mobile)”, even though she juggles school, work and games. .
âAfter morning classes, I have to go to court. I then play from around 9pm to 2-3am, âshe said.
Chavda points out that many women have represented India in international gaming tournaments or regularly participate in money-rich competitions. “If you want to become a professional player, you have to hone your skills, improve the gameplay, train in a mixed team, build a portfolio that will help reach the sponsors,” she added.
There is a downside to women who play games. âWomen are often targeted in these multiplayer online games, harassed and verbally assaulted by other players,â she said.
Experts said it was good to indulge in the game, stressing the importance of not overdoing it. “If gambling affects jobs or personal life, then that’s a red flag,” said psychologist Shobna Das.
âIt is important that players stay in good physical shape and exercise daily; finish an hour before bed to help with a better sleep cycle, âsaid physician Ashish Agarwal.
Shubhangini Iyer (21) said: “Players should also avoid straining their eyes and consider glasses with blue light filters.”