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New Study Reports Findings on Gender in EQ2

Posted Tue, Dec 23, 2008 by Sardu

A recent study led by Scott Caplan of the University of Delaware takes a look at gender differences among gamers, and attempts to help shatter some of the stereotypes surrounding the typically assumed male dominant past-time.  Data was collected from a group consisting of 2,400 EverQuest 2 players, who were recruited directly from within the game and asked to participate by filling out a web-based questionnaire.  Additional information was provided by SOE, who gave researchers access to information about the player's in-game behaviors.

According to the study, female players make up somewhere around 40% of the game's population - a definite contrast to the common stereotype that MMOGs in particular are almost exclusively populated by males.  Though it's hard to draw any direct conclusions based on a cross-section of anonymous players in a single game, the population findings do tend to reflect what many people have recently stated in a discussion here on our forums.

In terms of the stereotypes surrounding gender in gaming, Prof Caplan states, "In many cases, stereotypes reflect what I would call a 'cultural time lag'.   What we think about men and women and video games may have been true 10 or 15 years ago, when there were mainly console video games or single-player games. I think a lot of our stereotypes are based on the way computer games have been, rather than where they're going.”

The study goes on to examine other factors, such as the social aspects of online games attracting a larger female audience.  However, it also claims that of those females questioned there was an unusually high level of bisexuality – over five times higher than the general population.  

“These are not people who are following strict gender stereotypes," said Prof Caplan.

Though the study does lean towards some odd generalizations of it's own based solely on anonymous answers by a fraction of a percent of the millions of current MMOG players, it's still worth reading through some of the other findings.
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