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Gender Bias in MMORPG?

HelleriHelleri Member UncommonPosts: 930

  I want to say before getting started that despite the title this is not a rant. And, it is not intended to be one of those "sex sells" threads either (and please let's not take it there).

 

  I am curious to know if you feel, given your gender, that you have a bias towards certain types of content in an MMORPG. Weather you feel your likes and dislikes are given proper and fair attention in the games you play (how you feel the industry treats this as a whole, and any exemplifications you would like to make). And, if you believe that the gender opposite yourself have preferences in content that you do not due to their gender (and, if so; what those may be).

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Comments

  • crack_foxcrack_fox Member UncommonPosts: 399

    It's hard to say. I rarely know the actual gender of other players I encounter, and the same is true of other posters on forums. Given that, I can't really judge whether or not their stated preferences are representative of whichever gender I perceive them to be. I do not have any evidence to demonstrate that female players prefer co-operative play to competitive play. I do not have any evidence to prove that women gamers are more interested in social features, housing and fluff. I do know that there are plenty of male players who enjoy these sorts of things and many who do not, and so it seems reasonable to deduce that female players are equally diverse in their preferences.

     In terms of whether my own gender predisposes me to certain types of content, I would say no. That has more to do with my gaming history and even perhaps my age. It may possibly influence the art styles I prefer.  I generally dislike games with overly cutesy or pretty characters - most eastern MMOs are right off the menu. And I much prefer gritty, realistic graphics and grim gameworlds over those with a more vivid and/or cartoony style. And in this regard I certainly do feel that my tastes do not get 'proper and fair attention'. But again, I really couldn't say that this is necessarily a male thing since there seem to be lots of guys who prefer a more stylized approach. 

     

  • Dremlock1Dremlock1 Member Posts: 5

    I feel like adult sexual themes are underrepresented in MMOs. IDK if my being a male makes me want that sorta thing, but any time I see romance in MMOs it tends to be like a disney movie. 

     

    Relationships in SWTOR were pretty interesting though. 

     

    But, to your main question, IDK which of my likes and dislikes come from me being a male. I could be sterotpical about this and say I like heroic, violent, glorious battles n what not.... but I think there are plenty of ladies that enjoy the same things. 

  • GuyClinchGuyClinch Member CommonPosts: 485

    As a guy I absolutely feel that developers write for me - and I think it works. And I am absolutely biased

    . I tell my g/f who plays GW2 that her female mesmer looks like some kind of high class fancy stripper. And clearly thats by design. Arenanet knows its fans want eye candy - and they provide it.  But it works for the female players too. She wouldn't play Charr for example while i think they look 'cool.' I don't need my character to be 'sexy'. But lots of beautiful women running around doesn't hurt things..

    So I have no problem with the genre. They target me pretty well. I like stereotypical guy things - and they do really well.  MMOs know their audience pretty well. That's what demographics are for.

  • HelleriHelleri Member UncommonPosts: 930
    Originally posted by crack_fox

    It's hard to say. I rarely know the actual gender of other players I encounter, and the same is true of other posters on forums. Given that, I can't really judge whether or not their stated preferences are representative of whichever gender I perceive them to be. I do not have any evidence to demonstrate that female players prefer co-operative play to competitive play. I do not have any evidence to prove that women gamers are more interested in social features, housing and fluff. I do know that there are plenty of male players who enjoy these sorts of things and many who do not, and so it seems reasonable to deduce that female players are equally diverse in their preferences.

     In terms of whether my own gender predisposes me to certain types of content, I would say no. That has more to do with my gaming history and even perhaps my age. It may possibly influence the art styles I prefer.  I generally dislike games with overly cutesy or pretty characters - most eastern MMOs are right off the menu. And I much prefer gritty, realistic graphics and grim gameworlds over those with a more vivid and/or cartoony style. And in this regard I certainly do feel that my tastes do not get 'proper and fair attention'. But again, I really couldn't say that this is necessarily a male thing since there seem to be lots of guys who prefer a more stylized approach. 

     

      While it is true that it is hard to prove who you are playing with and thus, hard to make a judgment call about that. You still introduced the hypothetical that a woman might tend to like co-operative play over competitive play.  Or that they may be more interested in social features. That you can use that without being prompted or responding to a direct accusation of such. That goes to show that the natural bias in thinking at least is there. No matter how much any of us would wish we were above such. Or more Forward thinking.

     

      You also admit that age and experience tend to dictate your tastes in gaming. And, seem certain that gender does not. But if the other two are fair factors in considering then why isn't gender? But, then you seem unsure of the assertion given that you admit you prefer more classically typified as male themes.

     

      I am not trying to jump on you with your own words. Not attacking here. Just saying, you goto admit there is something to this. I think really, we have been scared off talking about things like this by media indoctrination. Watch the Victoria's secret commercial...but your an arse if you can't hold a conversation while doing so. And, your enforcing a double standard if you don't want to see ads about women's hygienics, but you like when terry cruise screams some random stuff while holding a stick of old spice.

     

      The thoughts on it are there. But, I think they have been suppressed. We have been taught it's not okay to make the distinction between genders. Under the premis that any distinction made is one of supposing inequality. But, Things can be both equal different. So, let's not try to minimize what gender has to contribute to things when we will talk for days about how long some of us have been playing vs. the new people on the scene. Or how we want adult themes and are sick of playing with kids.

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  • Neo_ViperNeo_Viper Member Posts: 598

    I've seen guys collect cute pets and ladies do hardcore raiding or PvP, so I don't think you can really generalize on that.

    Some interesting stuff in there: http://blog.rjmetrics.com/2009/06/24/who-plays-mmos-an-analysis-of-mmorpg-player-demographics-and-mmorpg-player-stereotypes/

    My computer is better than yours.

  • Dremlock1Dremlock1 Member Posts: 5
    Originally posted by GuyClinch

    As a guy I absolutely feel that developers write for me - and I think it works. And I am absolutely biased

    . I tell my g/f who plays GW2 that her female mesmer looks like some kind of high class fancy stripper. And clearly thats by design. Arenanet knows its fans want eye candy - and they provide it.  But it works for the female players too. She wouldn't play Charr for example while i think they look 'cool.' I don't need my character to be 'sexy'. But lots of beautiful women running around doesn't hurt things..

    So I have no problem with the genre. They target me pretty well. I like stereotypical guy things - and they do really well.  MMOs know their audience pretty well. That's what demographics are for.

    Women play Charr too.

     

    And dressing like a stripper isn't fashion completely determined by men. Women choose to dress scandalously irl too without the input of men. 

     

    But I guess there are some games where that's ur only option.... like Tera. 

  • crack_foxcrack_fox Member UncommonPosts: 399
    Originally posted by Helleri 

      While it is true that it is hard to prove who you are playing with and thus, hard to make a judgment call about that. You still introduced the hypothetical that a woman might tend to like co-operative play over competitive play.  Or that they may be more interested in social features. That you can use that without being prompted or responding to a direct accusation of such. That goes to show that the natural bias in thinking at least is there. No matter how much any of us would wish we were above such. Or more Forward thinking.

    I use that example of women preferring co-operative play simply because that is the stereotype that we are all familiar with. There may or may not be truth in it. I don't know enough female gamers to make an informed judgement. But I do know a lot of women who enjoy more traditionally male pursuits. Then again, I live in NZ and women here tend to be pretty capable. 

      You also admit that age and experience tend to dictate your tastes in gaming. And, seem certain that gender does not. But if the other two are fair factors in considering then why isn't gender? But, then you seem unsure of the assertion given that you admit you prefer more classically typified as male themes.

    I prefer realistic graphics and bloody themes. But I enjoy exploration and crafting more than combat. I'm fussy about aesthetics and care more for form than function. I'm ambivalent about PvP and actively despise raiding. I find the idea of 'beating' a MMO risible. I dislike 'sexy' female armour, simply because I tend toward realism. Is that a stereotypically male attitude?

      I am not trying to jump on you with your own words. Not attacking here. Just saying, you goto admit there is something to this. I think really, we have been scared off talking about things like this by media indoctrination. Watch the Victoria's secret commercial...but your an arse if you can't hold a conversation while doing so. And, your enforcing a double standard if you don't want to see ads about women's hygienics, but you like when terry cruise screams some random stuff while holding a stick of old spice.

     No worries, but I haven't watched commercial tv for a few years, and I have no idea who Terry Cruise is. 

      The thoughts on it are there. But, I think they have been suppressed. We have been taught it's not okay to make the distinction between genders. Under the premis that any distinction made is one of supposing inequality. But, Things can be both equal different. So, let's not try to minimize what gender has to contribute to things when we will talk for days about how long some of us have been playing vs. the new people on the scene. Or how we want adult themes and are sick of playing with kids.

    You have a theory and you are looking for evidence to support it. A more scientific approach is to take your theory and look for evidence to disprove it. My experience in life has been that people I meet tend to invalidate the presumptions that I may have made about them on the grounds of their race, gender or social background. It's not a matter of media indoctrination or political correctness it's just learning from your own experiences. Your experiences may lead you to different conclusions. 

     

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Member CommonPosts: 10,910

    Do I like certain kinds of things because I'm male? Hmmm. Probably. It's tricky to say what that bias is, given that I've not been female at any point.

    I would bet that my interests that stem from being male are given more than a fair shake in MMORPGs. MMORPGs in content and structure haven't traveled that far from where they started, and they started with probably a 100% male audience. This is an assumption on my part though. I could not tell you what specific game mechanics or activities are gender specific.

    Honestly, I don't know if women in general have preferences in regards to MMORPGs that are different from mine because they are women. There are so many people who have preferences different from mine that have nothing to do with gender, it would be hard to pick out the ones that are there because of gender.

    After watching my daughter, my wife and her friends play games, I would have to say there aren't many, if any, general mechanics in video games that are gender specific. Most of the differences are going to be in the representation of the characters and the people within the game worlds, rather than the activities the players are engaging in. Are the heroes always male? Are the women always damsels in distress? That type of thing.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • Neo_ViperNeo_Viper Member Posts: 598
    Originally posted by lizardbones

    Are the heroes always male? Are the women always damsels in distress?

    Helen Ripley, Princess Leia, Lara Croft and many others disagree with that (even though Leia was kinda "in distress" in the first movie, but demonstrated that she held her own with a blaster in her hand too).

    My computer is better than yours.

  • EluwienEluwien Member UncommonPosts: 196

    Preferences, as well as bias, exists in the mind of the perceiver. Not in the environment they're in.

     

     

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  • AntiquatedAntiquated Member RarePosts: 1,415
    Originally posted by Helleri

      I want to say before getting started that despite the title this is not a rant. And, it is not intended to be one of those "sex sells" threads either (and please let's not take it there).

     

      I am curious to know if you feel, given your gender, that you have a bias towards certain types of content in an MMORPG. Weather you feel your likes and dislikes are given proper and fair attention in the games you play (how you feel the industry treats this as a whole, and any exemplifications you would like to make). And, if you believe that the gender opposite yourself have preferences in content that you do not due to their gender (and, if so; what those may be).

    Consider the Watchmen movie (blue schlong).

    Did Aeria rush to get an mmo out? Would the local contingent of first amendment freedom-fighters rally around it, or quietly find a different Cause?

     

    Biases in our games reflect the general biases in the audience (enormously *ahem* exaggerated, in some cases).

  • RoguewizRoguewiz Member UncommonPosts: 707

    As a mid-30s Male gamer, I gravitate towards the fluff.  I've done the whole slam my face into a game and reach cap over and over.  After doing it for so long, I'm kind of tired of it.  Things that keep me entertained now are:

    • Housing
    • Robust customization
    • mini-games
    • crafting
    • "social" aspects (assuming I'm not totally disgusted with the community before that.  I talking about you, World of Warcraft)
    On that same token, there are women gamers that want the hard-core stuff and don't really care for the fluff.  I know some gamers like that.
     
    As a whole, we gamers are diverse.  Male, Women, Young, Old; our preferences can't be nailed down to a specific genre, idea, group, or anything really measurable.
     
    The only thing I see games doing more and more is the over simplification of games and the gravitation towards the casual.  Games aren't "Everquest" anymore.  They're becoming "World of Warcraft" or "Guild Wars 2".  Developers realize that their market has changed from a teens to mid 20s crowd, to a 30s crowd with a family and/or job.  The idea is that the 30s crowd doesn't have time to dedicate to the game like they used to, so it needs to be more accessible and allow them to accomplish something meaningful in a reasonable amount of time.  Sure, there is some truth to this idea, but it isn't completely set in stone.  
     
    Personally, I'm single and work 50 hrs a week and attend college.  I still make the time, or rather, have the time to play my game of choice 3-4 hrs a day.  Weekends I tend to play more.  I've raided, led guilds or raid groups, and have leveled multiple characters like this.
     
    I've known fathers and mothers that work and have children, but still have the time to play.  Granted, their children are in the 9+ crowd, so they're capable of keeping themselves occupied.  Those that had children younger than that, typically played when the kids were asleep.
     
     

    Raquelis in various games
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    Anticipating: Everquest Next Crowfall, Pantheon

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  • HelleriHelleri Member UncommonPosts: 930

    There have been some really interesting replies on this. I mainly started this topic because while I have seen plenty of discussion on sex sells or some games playing to an  age bracket....Gender dynamics seems to be a subject that stays in the dark, and it feels worth casting a bit of light on. I feel this may quickly fall to the wayside, because even though I think I came up with a good set of icebreakers to get on the subject. I have had no real goals with this thread. I'd like to keep it going as a free form observational thing (if that makes any sense). Because, it has definitely not been uninteresting for me (and I hope the same goes for the participants).

     

    But allow me to set something of a goal for the discussion here to keep it going and give it a bit more structure. I have to think that this like any other factor matters in game design and game appeal (simply because male and female brains are wired differently). What I would like to arrive at by the end of it is better understanding of to what degree, by what processes and why.

    image

  • ArclanArclan Member UncommonPosts: 1,550

    Excellent discussion and an unfortunate byproduct of today's mmos: less women. If women prefer the social aspect of MMOs, they would have little interest in today's soloable, zero-down-time, etc., MMOs.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Member RarePosts: 6,589
    Originally posted by Arclan

    Excellent discussion and an unfortunate byproduct of today's mmos: less women. If women prefer the social aspect of MMOs, they would have little interest in today's soloable, zero-down-time, etc., MMOs.

    Do you have any evidence to support this?

    My impression from various reports seen over the years is that there are more women (both absolute and relative) in mmo games than at any other time in the genre's history, bordering 50% in some games and surpassing 50% is others.

    A quick search gives me this http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/gateway_genderbend.html - 85% of all gamers are male (2004)

    vs this http://blog.rjmetrics.com/2009/06/24/who-plays-mmos-an-analysis-of-mmorpg-player-demographics-and-mmorpg-player-stereotypes/ 60% of gamers are male (2009).

    Can't find anything more recent yet.

    Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it is bad.
  • ArclanArclan Member UncommonPosts: 1,550


    Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
    Originally posted by Arclan Excellent discussion and an unfortunate byproduct of today's mmos: less women. If women prefer the social aspect of MMOs, they would have little interest in today's soloable, zero-down-time, etc., MMOs.
    Do you have any evidence to support this?

    My impression from various reports seen over the years is that there are more women (both absolute and relative) in mmo games than at any other time in the genre's history, bordering 50% in some games and surpassing 50% is others.

    A quick search gives me this http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/gateway_genderbend.html - 85% of all gamers are male (2004)

    vs this http://blog.rjmetrics.com/2009/06/24/who-plays-mmos-an-analysis-of-mmorpg-player-demographics-and-mmorpg-player-stereotypes/ 60% of gamers are male (2009).

    Can't find anything more recent yet.



    The links do you credit, and maybe your conclusion is correct. But, it is hard to say, considering we have no idea (1) how that data were arrived at, and (2) which games were included in the sample. Nowadays, just about any game is classified as an MMORPG. Farmville, for example, probably got included in the 2009 figures.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • NadiaNadia Member UncommonPosts: 11,798
  • karbonistakarbonista Member UncommonPosts: 78

    Over large groups, there might be gender differences in type of content/game preference.

    Individually, it's irrelevant.  Gender is not an accurate predictor of game play style.

  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Member RarePosts: 6,589
    Originally posted by Nadia

    the 2008 study using 4 years of data from EQ2 to validate self reported data

    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2009/02/aaas-60tb-of-behavioral-data-the-everquest-2-server-logs/

    the full research article

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2008.00428.x/full

     

     

    Now thats interesting.  I would have guessed EQ2 would be a lot closer than 80% male.  I had heard before that females spend more hours on games though.

    @arclan - your right, there are definate questions to answer and as Nadia's study pointed out, possible some flaws in the overall game data.  Interesting.

    Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it is bad.
  • HelleriHelleri Member UncommonPosts: 930

    I had neglected to post any thing statistic wise myself. the reason being that I found many of the articles on this were not sourced...for instance the first person who posted 2 articles found online...In my own digging around I found those exact two sites. But since the authors didn't clearly point to where they obtained the data for their statistics (that i could find any way) I decided against posting them.

     

    Now, this second set of links gets a lot closer to giving us some baseline info on what our games are composed of people wise (and more specifically with pertinence to this thread gender wise). I am not surprised that many people estimate that 60%-80% of MMORPG population are male, regardless of the gender of the character being played. It seems to be the popular opinion across many forums In have looked over on the topic (again...diggings). And, actually at least one popular alternate assignment for the MMORPG acronym has developed from it. that being: Many Men Online Role Playing Girls.

     

    I suppose that, really getting any where substantial in a discussion about how this effects the genre and how the genre in turn effects us due to it, would first require a lot more information that we can only guess at. Because, on the whole, it has yet to be voluntarily provided.

     

    The debate over the mere ratio of men to women in MMORPG is one I have had with several people in various games. And, the usual group consensus from my experience ends up being that very few females actually play, and that every one in a friends chat or guild we end up considering and treating as male, by default. In many games you are guilty of being a man unless proved otherwise.

     

    Possibly to my demerit, I have gotten a few women to 'prove otherwise'. Which as horrible of a dirty man, that may make me...there is something very entertaining in a troll-tastic way about infuriating a woman into...let's just say doing things on cam for you. Which I think from the hetrosexual males perspective is the real point to all of it...Mans age old question "Can I &$#@ it?" Which I can say yes...if it's a real female in the game and you piss her off enough... most of the time...oddly you can. I have found that anger and lust are very closely tied things with most women. And, one is easily convertable into the other (that's a two way street though that also means it's easy to tick a woman off when was receptive a moment ago).

    image

  • iridescenceiridescence Member UncommonPosts: 1,552
    Originally posted by Helleri

    . Which as horrible of a dirty man, that may make me...there is something very entertaining in a troll-tastic way about infuriating a woman into...let's just say doing things on cam for you. Which I think from the hetrosexual males perspective is the real point to all of it...Mans age old question "Can I &$#@ it?" Which I can say yes...if it's a real female in the game and you piss her off enough... most of the time...oddly you can. I have found that anger and lust are very closely tied things with most women. And, one is easily convertable into the other (that's a two way street though that also means it's easy to tick a woman off when was receptive a moment ago).

     

     

    Wow...creepy. This kind of sh*t also probably explains why a lot of women don't like to be open about their gender in MMOs.

     

  • HelleriHelleri Member UncommonPosts: 930
    Originally posted by iridescence
    Originally posted by Helleri

    . Which as horrible of a dirty man, that may make me...there is something very entertaining in a troll-tastic way about infuriating a woman into...let's just say doing things on cam for you. Which I think from the hetrosexual males perspective is the real point to all of it...Mans age old question "Can I &$#@ it?" Which I can say yes...if it's a real female in the game and you piss her off enough... most of the time...oddly you can. I have found that anger and lust are very closely tied things with most women. And, one is easily convertable into the other (that's a two way street though that also means it's easy to tick a woman off when was receptive a moment ago).

     

     

    Wow...creepy. This kind of sh*t also probably explains why a lot of women don't like to be open about their gender in MMOs.

     

    Yeah...not super proud of it. But, at least every one of those women I was with in the relationship sense for sometime afterward (few months to a year for each woman. In any case none of them were a one time thing. Or someone I didn't associate with otherwise. one even went offline, and I lived with her for a time). It was never a wam bam, thank you mam, next! thing.

     

    Believe me, it's not the way to find "the one". But, as long as your not going for every legit of age woman in the game one right after the other it is not as bad (emphasis on 'as bad') as it sounds on the surface. There was more to it then just sleaziness, if I may so back peddle, lol. There was a degree of legitimate interest in the person. But, I don't buy the cow with out sampling the milk. And, mixed in with the interchangeability of what any given one of them was feeling, was also, an under the surface desire to be 'tricked' (and in-so-much a trick of their own to land a guy).

     

    Using a bold metaphor - I never kicked in a door...I knocked on ones I knew would be opened, because someone was waiting for a knock...we can all be a little sleazy and less inhibited online ( which i think is a good point here). And all prone to thinking about the possibility of compatability even where none is immediately apparent.

    image

  • ArclanArclan Member UncommonPosts: 1,550


    Originally posted by Helleri
    ...
    Which I think from the hetrosexual males perspective is the real point to all of it...Mans age old question "Can I &$#@ it?" Which I can say yes...if it's a real female in the game and you piss her off enough... most of the time...oddly you can. I have found that anger and lust are very closely tied things with most women. And, one is easily convertable into the other (that's a two way street though that also means it's easy to tick a woman off when was receptive a moment ago).

    Brilliant rofl. You know, I was wondering if angering my g/f, recently, was detrimental or not. She hates when I call a movie a chick-flick; as I did with Hunger Games and Gravity. It really annoys her to hear me say that. But, there is the view that any press is good press. It might be better to have your g/f think about how angry she is with you; than to not be thinking about you at all. Not saying I believe that; but I can't disprove it.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • HelleriHelleri Member UncommonPosts: 930
    Originally posted by Arclan

     


    Originally posted by Helleri
    ...
    Which I think from the hetrosexual males perspective is the real point to all of it...Mans age old question "Can I &$#@ it?" Which I can say yes...if it's a real female in the game and you piss her off enough... most of the time...oddly you can. I have found that anger and lust are very closely tied things with most women. And, one is easily convertable into the other (that's a two way street though that also means it's easy to tick a woman off when was receptive a moment ago).

     

    Brilliant rofl. You know, I was wondering if angering my g/f, recently, was detrimental or not. She hates when I call a movie a chick-flick; as I did with Hunger Games and Gravity. It really annoys her to hear me say that. But, there is the view that any press is good press. It might be better to have your g/f think about how angry she is with you; than to not be thinking about you at all. Not saying I believe that; but I can't disprove it.

    I would wager that you calling a movie she liked or wanted to watch a chick-flick actually has nothing to do with why she was angry. All you did was pull the trigger on an already loaded gun...

     

    Put another way. She had previously drug some old files from her mental desktop to the recycling bin...women never purge the recycling bin. So, if you access a shortcut to a file that was deleted. Be ready to have that file and all files associated with it restored to the desktop.

    image

  • ArclanArclan Member UncommonPosts: 1,550

    Hah. Possibly.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

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