This statement, "Women age 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (31%) than boys age 18 or younger (17%)"
, always strikes as being a little odd; why would it be appropriate to compare a data group of 17 years with another of 83, assuming everyone lived to 100, as a means to illustrate, or legitimate, a point about numbers. Surely it make greater sense to compare like with like
, i.e. women 18 and above compared to men 18 and above, like so, "when comparing men and women 18 years and above, fe/males represent a significantly greater/lesser portion of the game playing population
". The yearly ESA survey, like nearly every single one of these types of surveys, are always very careful not to provide information that could (in)validate the point either way
(and what does it matter anyway, people play games, some lots, others little. Who really cares. Ed.
). This makes the statement statistically disingenuous at face value based on tangential information that is
available. And marks the significance of the statement being 'political' rather than a statistical conclusion of meaning.
In other words the intent of the statement, and those like it, is to deliberately mislead the reader into thinking the numbers are comparative when used to illustrate the point being made. Its a purposefully misleading comment
meant to push a narrative of it's own (girls play games too! [as they always have, Ed.
]) as counterpoint to the stereotyped mainstream narrative that gamers are all young males.
So rather than presenting a truer reflection of the numbers, they have to fudge, blur or misdirect like a magician playing cup n' ball. And this just makes people angry. In fact, reading through the entire report one may be forgiven for noticing a pattern whereby very little data is provided to allow deeper gendered analysis. But that is par for the course at this point.
 individuals playing games, that also consider themselves to be "hardcore" or "serious" gamers, tend to be younger males (where "hardcore" and "serious" are largely defined by 1) the amount of time dedicated to playing, and 2) appreciative level(s) of skill improvement).