Join Date: Apr 2006
Many gamers are not fat, lonely men
Norrath (Dec 23, 2008): Picture a typical player of a massively multiplayer game such as World Of Warcraft and most people will imagine an overweight, solitary male. But this stereotype has been challenged by a study investigating gender differences among gamers.
It found that the most hard-core players are female, that gamers are healthier than average, and that game playing is an increasingly social activity. Despite gaming being seen as a male activity, female players now make up about 40 per cent of the gaming population.
The study looked at gender differences in more than 2,400 gamers playing EverQuest II. The participants, who were recruited directly out of the game, completed a web-based questionnaire about their gaming habits and lifestyles.
In addition Sony Online Entertainment, Everquest's creator, gave the US researchers access to information about the players' in-game behaviours.
The results showed that, although more of the players were male, it was the female players who were the most dedicated players, spending more time each day playing the game than their male counterparts.
"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," said lead researcher Scott Caplan of the University of Delaware.
"But what were seeing now is that games become social, and as these online games become communities then the attraction for that kind of behaviour might increase for women."
Perhaps in support of this the survey revealed an unusually high level of bisexuality among the women who took part in the study — over five times higher than the general population.
"These are not people who are following strict gender stereotypes," said Prof Caplan.
Another unexpected finding was that the online game players — particularly the women — were healthier than the general population, though this was drawn from self-reported levels of exercise and body mass index.
Prof Dmitri Williams, a researcher at the University of Southern California and a co-author on the study, said one possible explanation could be that playing computer games reduces the amount of time spent in front of the television.
In games such as EverQuest II, players spend their time completing quests and killing monsters, so it's possible that such in-game activities might influence players in real-life, said Prof Williams.
"It could be that games inspire a more active lifestyle, instead of sitting in front of a TV."
For love and spoils
The study also found that men and women played computer games for different reasons, with men more likely to play to win and women more likely to play for social reasons.
Furthermore, a high proportion of women reported playing the game with their romantic partner, supporting the idea that game playing is becoming an increasingly sociable activity. The researchers say that this trend is reflected in patterns of general computer and internet use.
- BBC NEWS
*Ahem* Just so you know, I'm a ravishing male gamer with a rippling six-pack who leaps over tall buildings in a single bound. The above article proves that I'm telling the truth.
Interested female gamers (I know you're out there), please PM me for a good party.