30% of male players prefer to play as female characters
A new study examines avatar preference and finds that about a third of male gamers prefer to play as female characters.
A new study has found that about a third of male video gamers prefer to play as female characters. In contrast, only about a tenth of female players prefer to play as male characters.
The new study from Quantic Foundry, a market research company specializing in player motivation, used a sample of more than 500,000 players to examine player preferences in the context of character selection. Participants came from all over the world and played a wide range of genres, including MMOs and RPGs. After a survey of these participants, analysts found that the majority of gamers prefer to play characters who match their own gender identity. Preference was found to be stronger for female players (76%) than for male players (48%). However, male players seemed more open to playing as female characters than female players were to playing as male characters. 29% of male players indicated a preference for female avatars, while only 9% of female players indicated that they preferred male avatars.
The research also analyzed the preferences of non-binary players. Their responses demonstrated a higher preference rate for non-binary (38 percent) and female (33 percent) characters than for men (10 percent).
The results are consistent with previous research. For example, a 2001 study on EverQuest gamers found that male gamers were between four and six times more likely to play as female characters than female gamers were to play as male characters. Similarly, the results of a 2005 study on World of warcraft reported that 55% of female avatars in the game are likely controlled by male gamers.
Much of the research discussion has focused on why so many male gamers prefer to play female characters. One theory posits that female avatars may have a tactical advantage in games because other players expect them to be weaker or less skilled. Another suggested that female avatars are treated better than male avatars in the social aspects of the game, being more likely to receive “free” or be invited to groups. The study also explained that anonymous digital environments provide a safer space for exploring gender identity than the real world.
It has also been pointed out that the preference for female characters may have a more misogynistic root. Male players controlling female characters (which are usually designed to respond to the male gaze) can be another way for men to objectify and devalue women’s bodies. This explanation appears to be supported by anecdotal evidence; As research has described, when asked directly why they play as female characters, many male gamers provide a response of the type, “If I have to watch an ass all day, I would rather it was an ass. woman’s ass. “
This study highlights the fact that research focused specifically on gamers tends to be male-centric, prioritizing the experiences and desires of male gamers over other demographics. He also seems to recognize this bias to some extent; Towards the end of the article, the study asked if the best research question wasn’t, “Why do male gamers play as female characters?” But rather, “Why do women have such a strong preference for playing only female characters?”
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Source: Quantum Foundry
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