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Girls will be girls : a study into differences in game design preferences across gender and player types

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Abstract
Gaming is rapidly gaining popularity as a pastime among women. One explanation for this could be the industry’s targeting of female gamers through specific ‘girl game’ releases. This would imply that there are a priori differences in game design preferences between female and male gamers. The purpose of the present study is to explore these differences to see whether there is a mediating effect of previous experience with certain game genres on subsequent design preferences of male and female gamers. More particularly, we distinguish between ‘core’ genre players (CP) and ‘non-core’ genre players (NCP). Respondents who play shooters, fighting, action-adventure, sports, survival horror racing, role-playing, strategy or MMO games at least once a week are considered as core genre players. We expect that gender differences in game design preferences diminish among core players because of more similar interests and experience. By means of a 2*2 ANOVA design using an online survey, we examine the main effects of gender, core genre players (CP/NCP) and the interaction effects between both independent variables. We focus upon game design preferences concerning violence, level of game complexity, sexual representation of female game characters, avatar customization, game setting, humor and other ingame elements. The results show that game preferences of male CP, female CP and male NCP are generally in line with one another whereas those of female NCP differ more significantly.
Keywords
Gaming, stereotypes, game design, gender

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Chicago
Vermeulen, Lotte, Jan Van Looy, Cédric Courtois, and Frederik De Grove. 2011. “Girls Will Be Girls : a Study into Differences in Game Design Preferences Across Gender and Player Types.” In Under the Mask : Perspectives on the Gamer, Papers.
APA
Vermeulen, Lotte, Van Looy, J., Courtois, C., & De Grove, F. (2011). Girls will be girls : a study into differences in game design preferences across gender and player types. Under the mask : perspectives on the gamer, Papers. Presented at the Under the mask : perspectives on the gamer conference 2011.
Vancouver
1.
Vermeulen L, Van Looy J, Courtois C, De Grove F. Girls will be girls : a study into differences in game design preferences across gender and player types. Under the mask : perspectives on the gamer, Papers. 2011.
MLA
Vermeulen, Lotte, Jan Van Looy, Cédric Courtois, et al. “Girls Will Be Girls : a Study into Differences in Game Design Preferences Across Gender and Player Types.” Under the Mask : Perspectives on the Gamer, Papers. 2011. Print.
@inproceedings{1886961,
  abstract     = {Gaming is rapidly gaining popularity as a pastime among women. One explanation for this could be the industry{\textquoteright}s targeting of female gamers through specific {\textquoteleft}girl game{\textquoteright} releases. This would imply that there are a priori differences in game design preferences between female and male gamers. The purpose of the present study is to explore these differences to see whether there is a mediating effect of previous experience with certain game genres on subsequent design preferences of male and female gamers.
More particularly, we distinguish between {\textquoteleft}core{\textquoteright} genre players (CP) and {\textquoteleft}non-core{\textquoteright} genre players (NCP). Respondents who play shooters, fighting, action-adventure, sports, survival horror racing, role-playing, strategy or MMO games at least once a week are considered as core genre players. We expect that gender differences in game design preferences diminish among core players because of more similar interests and experience. By means of a 2*2 ANOVA design using an online survey, we examine the main effects of gender, core genre players (CP/NCP) and the interaction effects between both independent variables. We focus upon game design preferences concerning violence, level of game complexity, sexual representation of female game characters, avatar customization, game setting, humor and other ingame elements. The results show that game preferences of male CP, female CP and male NCP are generally in line with one another whereas those of female NCP differ more significantly.},
  author       = {Vermeulen, Lotte and Van Looy, Jan and Courtois, C{\'e}dric and De Grove, Frederik},
  booktitle    = {Under the mask : perspectives on the gamer, Papers},
  keyword      = {Gaming,stereotypes,game design,gender},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Luton, UK},
  pages        = {21},
  title        = {Girls will be girls : a study into differences in game design preferences across gender and player types},
  year         = {2011},
}