The World’s Favorite Video Games with Female Lead Characters

3 min read

Among the world’s favorite video games, just 1 in 3 allow you to play as a female lead, with Nintendo leading the way.

Here at CardsChat we have undertaken extensive research to find out how female-friendly the video gaming industry really is. Looking at games that have been released over the past 16 years, such as Call of Duty, FIFA, and Assassin’s Creed, we’ve determined just how many console games allow users to play as female main characters, the years that the most female-friendly games have been released, and we can also reveal which game developer is the most female-friendly.

Min Min from Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo is one of an increasingly popular number of female video game leads. (Image: Nintendo)

Looking at the data since 2005, just 35.26% of the top-selling games over the past 16 years allow you to play as a female character.

Is the gaming industry getting more female-inclusive?

Yes, it is.

2020 saw the most top-grossing video games that allowed gamers, male and female, to play as a female character – with 90% of the top-grossing games being inclusive. 2019 came in second place (60%) and 2009 followed (50%).

In 2005, Pokémon Emerald was the only top-grossing video game of the year that allowed you to play as a female lead if you wanted to.

By 2020, Grand Theft Auto V was the only top-grossing video game of the year that didn’t allow you to play as a female lead.

In terms of this past year, FIFA 21, Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, FIFA 20, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, The Last Of Us Part 2, NBA 2K20, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege all allow you to pick and choose the sex of your main character.

top grossing games with female video game characters

Nintendo is the most female-inclusive game developer

As well as looking at just how many games allow you, the gamer, to play as a female character if you wish, we also wondered which developer was the most ahead of the industry in terms of catering to everyone.

We found that Nintendo has developed the highest number of games that allow you to play as a female character; 22.8% of all 160 top-grossing games that we looked into that feature a female main character have been developed by Nintendo. Super Smash Bros Brawl, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Wii Fit are just a few of the games developed by Nintendo that allow you to choose from a number of main leads, male, female, and otherwise.

Ubisoft nabbed the second-place spot (with 15.79%), followed by both EA and Activision (14.03%).

most female friendly video game companies
(click to enlarge)

Looking to launch a game yourself? Hold off until November

Have you ever wondered when the most successful console games are released? Well, we’ve found that out too!

With Christmas just around the corner and everyone looking to find the perfect gift for their spouse, children, or friends, it’s no surprise that November is the best time of the year to launch a video game that will, hopefully, one day go on to be a top-grossing game. In fact, almost 1 in 3 of the top-grossing games we looked at were launched in November (29.3%).

Best to avoid July, though. Not a single top-grossing game of 160 that we looked at was launched in July.

best worst time to release a game

So, there you have it … some of the most female-friendly video games were released in the last two years. 

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