Computer Games Are Now Gender-Neutral

Recent studies render game-related stereotypes obsolete

By Tudor Vieru on December 23rd, 2008 13:50 GMT
Despite popular belief, recent scientific studies prove the fact that on-line games are less and less dominated by males, as the stereotype goes. Rather, more than 40 percent of players in popular games such as EVE, World of Warcraft, MU and others are females, the new results show. Gamers who spend more time on their computers also watch less TV, which seems to back-up the players' claims according to which they have a better health condition than other less-active people.

 

In addition to these facts, the new research shows that massive multiplayer on-line role playing games (MMORPGs) are a very solid platform for social interactions, as proven by the fact that more and more people join them – and not for killing monsters and other such deeds of bravery, but for getting in touch with others, across the world. Psychologists say that the need for communication drives social platform sites, such as Facebook, Hi5, MySpace and others.
 

"In many cases, stereotypes reflect what I would call a 'cultural time lag'. What we think about men and women and videogames may have been true 10 or 15 years ago, when there were mainly console video games or single-player games. But what we’re seeing now is that games become social, and as these on-line games become communities then the attraction for that kind of behavior might increase for women," argues the lead researcher of the new study, Scott Caplan, a professor at the University of Delaware.
 

"These are not people who are following strict gender stereotypes. I think that the game itself is right now a very non-traditional activity for women, and so I think what you would find in this population are going to be people who are in other ways less traditional than the majority population," he adds, referring to the fact that the incidence of women who are interested in both men and women and who play computer games is about five times larger than that encountered in the rest of the female population.
 

Drawing a parallel between social media and MMORPGs, Caplan says that, most likely, games will also become a virtual place where men will no longer hold the upper hand. The main reason women use these games, he adds, is the fact that they want to socialize, as proven by the fact that many women play a game or another with their boyfriends.

A screenshot from Blizzard's World of Warcraft
   A screenshot from Blizzard's World of Warcraft
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