Examine the different actions between male and female gamers and the social factors that influence the different actions or roles in PC gaming.

Actions between male and female gamers and the social factors that influence the various actions or roles in PC gaming

Examine the different actions between male and female gamers and the social factors that influence the various actions or roles in PC gaming.


Different actions between male and female gamers and the social factors that influence the various actions or roles in PC gaming.


With the proliferation of online games, understanding user’s intention to engage in gaming continues to be an issue for scholars and practitioner. Existing literature has primarily explored elements that affected the behavioral intention to play PC games (Yee, 2006). On the other hand, relatively few studies have been carried out to investigate the extent to which game roles and actions are gendered as ascribed social factors.


This study seeks to explore the apparent varying roles and actions adopted by males and females in online games. This will be based on the stereotypes ascribed to each gender by the society. Understanding gender roles in online games will be crucial in understanding the extent to which the society’s ascription of people affect patterns of behavior and roles adopted by either gender.


  1. To explore the playing patterns of players engaged in online games.
  2. To determine the extent to which an individual’s gender determines the type of games played and how gender affects roles in online games.
  3. To determine how the society’s perception of gender affects ones’ play patterns and play roles in online games.




Even though the number of female gamers has continued to grow in the recent years, PC games have typically been observed as a masculine space, an undertaking designed by men meant for males (Kuss, Louws, and Wiers, 2012). Indeed, one cannot help but note that the gaming business itself is largely skewed, such that female developers, programmers, and producers only comprise a fraction of the gaming population (Wang, and Wang 2008). As such, it comes as no surprise that females are not well represented in most video game contents, and whenever they are depicted, they are painted in stereotypical means designed to appeal to the male species (Park, and Lee, 2011). According to Ivory (2006), common depictions of women in online games include weak princess that required rescue or as a highly sexualized dominatrix. Hartmann and Klimmt (2006) show that players who takes part in such games with sexualized contents inclines gamers to allow more sexual harassment with male players indicating a bigger probability to pester the females after playing.

The bulk of research on PC game has primarily concentrated on youths, teens, and violence. Across several research purviews, studies have engaged grade-school populaces and laboratory studies of high school learners depending on either short exposures to game content or on self-reported aspects of gameplay (Miller, and Summers, 2007; Downs, and Smith, 2010). Such a research custom has born a rich body of literature, though in so doing, it has typically neglected research designs that would describe the play patterns and activities of contemporary gamers particularly in the online segment (Hartmann, and Klimmt, 2006). While gamers are known for seeking to game in general for social motives, Behm-Morawitz, and Mastro (2009) note that for networked games, the lures are fellow gamers and the link among them.

From the communications point of view, this is a vital observation. According to Buckingham, and Willett (2013) Social exchanges in new media have been confirmed to be necessary despite being disregarded in several domains of communications studies. In gaming, gender is mostly deployed as a fundamental demographic control rather than as an active character that determines how gamers engage in the game, their interactions, and how they negotiate expectations (Ivory, 2006). Within the subset of teenagers and college students, Miller, and Summers (2007) show that research has stressed on violence dynamics across the gender and to a smaller degree on motivational or performance-based differences. Studies have employed gender as a control variable only to establish that it affects a plethora of aspects such as skills, aggression, game content and game preference. Thus, what emerges is that study on gender and gaming has typically shied away from exploring sexual relationships among gamers despite occasionally examining family interactions (Jenson, and De Castell, 2010).

Sex, gender, and stereotyping online

The types of behavior that males and females exhibit are in most cases determined by sex stereotypes learned and socially ascribed over time (Ivory, 2006). Mundane sex and gender stereotypes communicate that while males are dominant and are concerned with argentic objectives, women are submissive and more inclined towards communal goals (Downs, and Smith, 2010). Even though the majority of early research on computer-mediated communication (CMC) purported that diminished face-to-face cues would moderate the action of social stereotypes, this has not been the case. Walther et al. (2015) show that CMC merely recreates existing practices and norms.

Sex roles suggesting that females ought to be unassertive and submissive appear to dictate interactions in online ecosystems. Among asynchronous CMC such as online newsgroups and discussion lists, Walther et al. (2015) indicate that males are more likely to predispose to post longer messages, initiate, and close discussions, assert their views and more importantly, use obscene language. On their part, a typical female is more likely to share a short message, qualify her statements, apologize, and express support of others (Spottswood, et al., 2013). While men and women appear to take part more equally in synchronous CMC with regards to message number and size, each gender uses its own discourse style (Walther et al., 2015). Specifically, the males will tend to be more oppositional and adversarial, compared to the females that will probably be aligned and supportive. Kimbrough et al. (2013) argue that a woman will tend to receive disproportionate attention, especially of a sexual nature, such that gendered differences may act as cues to attracting predatory attention from the males.

The use of gendered language in online CMC similarly affects online interactions in games. The same trend is observed among online gamers where males prefer games that depict them as heroes (Kuss, et al., 2012). In most instances, the males will play as heroes sent to out to eliminate a target and probably rescue a girl that was kidnapped by the “bad guys.” However, in such games, the females will in most cases act as nonessential, passive characters, wearing revealing and protecting clothing and in some instances indulge in sexually evocative activities (Hartmann, and Klimmt, 2006). The implication of the paucity and negative nature of the female character depictions in online gaming is worrying. Wang and Wang (2008) show that cultivation theorists argue that long-term media consumption is capable of skewing gamers’ perceptions of the world toward that symbolized in totality by the content in such games (Downs, and Smith, 2010). Similar studies note that online game landscapes where the female character is symbolized intermittently and as passive, sexualized creatures precipitates Weltanschauung among the gamers who consume the messages given their prolonged exposures to the games.



The paper seeks to adopt a correlational research in which the objective is to determine the causal-effect connection between independent elements and a dependent element. This approach is considered since it will enable the researcher to numerically explain how the elements of gender as ascribed by the society affect gameplay patterns and roles. The correlational approach is widely adopted in literature given the fact that it is grounded on data coupled with the fact that it allows the researcher to generalize the outcomes of the study ton the wider population provided that the sampling strategy and sample size adequately describes the target population (Creswell, 2013).

Research approach

The quantitative study will examine its research hypotheses with a survey conducted online among users of the PlayStation network during online multiplayer matches of the PlayStation. Specifically, the researcher will design a questionnaire in the online platform survey monkey. The online surveys are adopted given the unique characteristics of the target population which is made up of tech-savvy individuals who spend most of their time online either chatting with friends or sharing their game scores. However, the paper acknowledges that the possibility of there being bias in research outcomes are high especially if during the research process some of the respondents opt to stay offline.

The researcher will then share a link on his social media page requesting the gamers to take part in the survey. On following the link, the respondents will be led to the online questionnaires where they will be required to provide their responses to the prompts provided.

Sampling strategy and sampling size

Sample selection will be passed on non-probability sampling methods. Specifically, since it might be hard for the researcher to reach the subjects of the study physically, the snowball sampling method is proposed for the study. Respondents that will agree to take part in the study will be requested to share the link on their social media accounts asking their gaming friends also to take part in the study. This will go on until the desired sample size of 40 respondents is attained. However, the paper acknowledges that the sampling strategy proposed is susceptible to researcher bias given that it is possible that only persons within the investigator’s cycle take part in the study (Creswell, and Clark, 2007.). Nevertheless, the researcher will request the respondents to share the link wide enough to ensure the generalizability of the results as possible.

Data collection instruments

Data collection will be carried out using semi-structured questionnaires. Questioners chose given the ease with which data collection can be carried out even in the absence of the researcher. Each questionnaire will have two sections. The first section will carry general questions that will seek to determine the demographic characteristics of the respondents. The questions will include variables such as age, gender, race and also frequency of playing online games.

The other part of the questionnaires will carry Likert-based questions that will require the respondents to rate whether if they agree or disagree with provided questions. The use of Likert-based questions is based on the need to ease the analysis of data and also give the respondents the freedom to express themselves (Creswell, and Clark, 2007). On the Likert-scale, a response of 1 will imply that the respondent least agrees with the statement while a rating of 5 would imply strongly agreeing with the provided prompts. The study, however, observes that social desirability might drive some respondents to falsify responses and hence reduce the reliability of the study’s findings (Ioannidis, et al., 2014). Nevertheless, the researcher will strive to reduce such discrepancies by introducing self-check mechanisms in the questionnaires to ensure that the responses provided are realistic.

Data analysis

When there are enough data collected it will be checked for completeness and entered into SPSS for analysis. SPSS software version 20 will be used in carrying out the analysis. Data analysis will be carried out in two phases. Phase 1 will involve descriptive analysis meant to determine the demographic composition of the respondents based on their demographic information. The study will use means, standards deviation, frequency tables, and charts to represent the information. Data from this section will be useful in forming categories that will be used in categorizing the data into clusters.

The second phase will seek to determine the relationship that exists between the variables considered in the study. The researcher will use a mix of statistical tests including independent-sample t-tests and regression analysis in explaining statistical differences between the variables, the type of relationship between the variables and the extent to which the independent variables explain the dependent variable. The data will be presented using crosstabs, charts, and tables. Based on the results of the data, the study will draw relevant conclusions and compare them to existing literature.



Reference list

Behm-Morawitz, E. & Mastro, D., 2009. The Effects of the Sexualization of Female Video Game Characters on Gender Stereotyping and Female Self-Concept. Sex Roles [online], 61 (11-12), 808-823.

Buckingham, D. & Willett, R., 2013. Digital generations: Children, young people, and the new media. New York: Routledge.

Creswell, John W. & Clark, V.L.P., 2007. Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Thousand Oaks, CA, US: Sage.

Creswell, John W., 2013. Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. 4th ed. Los Angeles, Calif: SAGE

Downs, E. & Smith, S.L., 2010. Keeping abreast of hypersexuality: A video game character content analysis. Sex Roles [online], 62 (11-12), 721-733.

Hartmann, T. & Klimmt, C., 2006. Gender and Computer Games: Exploring Females’ Dislikes. Journal of ComputerMediated Communication [online], 11 (4), 910-931.

Ioannidis, J.P.A., Greenland, S., Hlatky, M.A., Khoury, M.J., Macleod, M.R., Moher, D., Schulz, K.F. & Tibshirani, R., 2014. Increasing value and reducing waste in research design, conduct, and analysis. The Lancet [online], 383 (9912), 166-175.

Ivory, J.D., 2006. Still a Man’s Game: Gender Representation in Online Reviews of Video Games. Mass Communication & Society [online], 9 (1), 103-114.

Jenson, J. & De Castell, S., 2010. Gender, Simulation, and Gaming: Research Review and Redirections. Simulation & Gaming [online], 41 (1), 51-71.

Kimbrough, A.M., Guadagno, R.E., Muscanell, N.L. & Dill, J., 2013. Gender differences in mediated communication: Women connect more than do men. Computers in Human Behavior [online], 29 (3), 896-900.

Kuss, D.J., Louws, J. & Wiers, R.W., 2012. Online Gaming Addiction? Motives Predict Addictive Play Behavior in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games. CyberPsychology, Behavior & Social Networking [online], 15 (9), 480-485.

Miller, M.K. & Summers, A., 2007 Gender Differences in Video Game Characters’ Roles, Appearances, and Attire as Portrayed in Video Game Magazines. Sex roles [online], 57 (9-10), 733-742.

Park, B.W. & Lee, K.C., 2011. Exploring the value of purchasing online game items. Computers in Human Behavior [online] 27 (6), 2178-2185.

Spottswood, E.L., Walther, J.B., Holmstrom, A.J. & Ellison, N.B., 2013. Person-Centered Emotional Support and Gender Attributions in Computer-Mediated Communication. Human Communication Research [online], 39 (3), 295-316.

Walther, J.B., Hoter, E., Ganayem, A. & Shonfeld, M., 2015 Computer-mediated communication and the reduction of prejudice: A controlled longitudinal field experiment among Jews and Arabs in Israel. Computers in Human Behavior [online] 52, 550-558.

Wang, H.Y. & Wang, Y.S., 2008. Gender differences in the perception and acceptance of online games. British Journal of Educational Technology [online] 39 (5), 787-806.

Yee, N., 2006. Motivations for play in online games. CyberPsychology & Behavior [online] 9 (6), 772-775.




Questionnaire for: Different actions between male and female gamers and the social factors that influence the various actions or roles in PC gaming.

  1. Section one : Please response to the following questions
  2. Gender
  3. M              F
  4. Age _______________
  5. How many hours do you spend playing online games on average per week?
  6. 1-5 5-10             c. 10-20           d. 20-30           e. other:_____
  7. Which type of PC games do you prefer?
  8. Adventure
  9. Real-Time Strategy (RTS)
  10. Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO)
  11. Others, please specify________________
  12. Section Two: Do you agree or disagree to the following statements ( 1 represent strongly disagree and 5 represent strongly agree)
Question                1.        2.        3.        4.        5.       
I find PC games interesting
I play PC games to interact with other people
I prefer PC games with male lead characters and females appearing sparingly
I agree that women roles in PC games are sexualized to lure men to play the games
If I had the chance, I would change the role of women/men in PC games
Women should be given more lead roles in action packed PC games
I always try to apply what is I see/do in the PC games to real life
Women are only suited for weaker roles both in games and in real life




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