Hartmann and Lkimmt, Gender and Computer Games (S)

Hartmann and Lkimmt, Gender and Computer Games (S) - Gender...

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Gender and Computer Games: Exploring Females' Dislikes Tilo Hartmann School of Communication University of Erfurt Christoph Klimmt Department of Journalism and Communication Research Hanover University of Music and Drama Abstract On average, girls and women are less involved with video games than are boys and men, and when they do play, they often prefer different games. This article reports two studies that investigated the dislikes of German females with regard to video games. Study 1 applied conjoint analysis to female respondents' ( N =317) ratings of fictional video games and demonstrated that lack of meaningful social interaction, followed by violent content and sexual gender role stereotyping of game characters, were the most important reasons why females disliked the games. Study 2, an online survey ( N =795), revealed that female respondents were less attracted to competitive elements in video games, suggesting an explanation for gender-specific game preferences. These findings are discussed with respect to communication theory on interactive entertainment and their implications for applied video game design. Introduction Computer and video games have become among the most popular leisure time activities for children, adolescents, and young adults in Western and Asian societies. The computer game industry is a billion-dollar business and its products have become a major part of today's media landscape (e.g., Poole, 2000; Vorderer & Bryant, 2006; Wolf, 1999). However, a substantial gender difference in computer game involvement has been observed, both in the U.S. and in Germany, despite the use of digital games being on the rise (Ivory, 2006). Many studies conducted in social science fields such as psychology report that girls and young women display less interest in digital games, have less game- related knowledge, and play less frequently and for shorter durations than do boys and young men (e.g., Brown, Hall, Holtzer, Brown, & Brown, 1997; Cassell & Jenkins, 1998a; Lucas & Sherry, 2004; Wright, et al., 2001). Several recent studies in Germany
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suggest the existence of a similar or even wider gender gap in video game involvement among the German population. For example, among a representative sample of German six to 13 years olds, 33% of girls reported playing Gameboy at least once a week (compared to 51% of boys), 33% reported playing other video consoles or computer games (compared to 54% of boys), and only 12% reported being very interested in video games in general (compared to 36% of boys; MFS, 2005a). Another study (MFS, 2005b) found a similar gender gap in video game involvement among 12 to 19 year old adolescents, with for example only 15% of all females reporting finding video games very interesting (compared to 52% of males) and only 15% of all females in this age group (compared to 61% of males) stating that they play computer or video games at least once a week. At the same time, recent publications suggest that the amount of
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Hartmann and Lkimmt, Gender and Computer Games (S) - Gender...

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