Surveying The Scene: Examining The Demographics Of eSports

Published: Nov 10, 2015 - Last Updated: Oct 13, 2021

The esports market is big and it keeps growing.

It can be said without a doubt that one of the most important “inputs” for a market that wants to grow is the underlying community. These are the people that push the market into expansion with their participation of any kind.

Clearly, the eSports community has proven to be a very supportive one so far. It does make sense, especially when considering the fact that these participants are doing something fun and entertaining – perhaps even addicting, but of course in a positive sense.

The current stage and trends of the market are more than promising, and the community behind it keeps growing with the market. Below we take a look at what the current demographics of the eSports industry looks like with the help of the data collected and analyzed by EEDAR, a leading provider of video game research, sales forecasting, and business intelligence services.

Gender split in esports

The general gaming population on PC is skewed towards males, with about 64 percent of players being male. When looking at the gender split from the current most popular games like League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: GO, this percentage climbs even higher.

For example, Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: GO are the two games with the highest percentage of male participation and have only about 20 percent female participants.

The research shows that currently, competitive gaming is highly driven by male users and that the majority of pros and online personalities are men. However, this trend is changing.

The world of pro-gaming saw a jump in popularity among women last year, with its female viewership seeing an increase from 15 to 30 percent, SuperData Research told Polygon following recent research done in collaboration with Newzoo.

Additionally, a couple of months ago IQ Intel reported that “slowly but surely, the boys club of competitive gaming is breaking down.”

Game genre split

The data from EEDAR offers intelligence for three of the biggest and probably most popular genres in eSports, MOBA (e.g. League of Legends and Dota 2), SHOOTER (e.g. Counter-Strike: GO and Call of Duty), and FIGHTER (e.g. Street Fighter IV).

Among those, the MOBA and SHOOTER genres have the largest percentage of males — more than 70 percent. FIGHTERS’ player population had a female participation of about one-third.

MOBA games have done the best job of popularizing eSports through leagues and tournaments while also providing the best visual experience, which resulted in a lifetime participation rate of 75 percent, EEDAR reports. Players are also more often drawn to team games rather than 1v1 fighters.

Age split, viewership and purchasing

24 to 27 is the dominant age bracket for gamers. According to the data from EEDAR, participants for Call of Duty are on average the oldest, between the age 26 and 27.

Dota 2 and Smite have the youngest participants, between 24 and 25. This is a minor difference between different games, but the data gives us a general picture of what sort of people represent the majority of the market’s community.

The research shows that the main reason for the participants to watch eSports was seeing high-level gaming. The secondary reason was improving their own gameplay. On average, half of eSports viewers spend between one and four hours per week watching eSports. Out of these participants, MOBA eSports users represent the largest group.

When looking at purchasing eSports-related items, most money is spent on in-game related items, mostly in MOBA and SHOOTER games. Other items that money is spent on are event and virtual tickets, apparel, and branded peripherals.

Dejan Zalik
Dejan Zalik

Since: September 12, 2015

Dejan has been involved in gaming for over 10 years. Moving from classics like Diablo 2, Lineage 2, and Warcraft 3, he found his passion in Dota 2, which he’s been playing ever since. He also likes to keep up to date by reading and writing about whatever is happening in the industry.

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