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How social are they? A gender-comparative study into social practices in digital games

Lotte Vermeulen (UGent) and Jan Van Looy (UGent)
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Abstract
Several studies into the motivations for playing digital games have found ‘social contact’ to be one of the major motivational dimensions. Playing digital games offer a large amount of opportunities for creating in-game social relationships and for developing or maintaining real life friendships. Although women are less involved with digital games than men, games which encourage social interaction, such as massively multiplayer online games (MMO’s), do seem to attract a widespread female audience. This could point to the fact that females’ aloof from gaming is partly due to a lack of social structure and sense of community into digital games. Other studies, however, disagree with this statement and argue that women are less inclined to social motives than men are. The aim of this study is to dig deeper into the above claims and explore in what way social experience as a motivation differs across gender. We draw upon a sample of 962 respondents recruited on a broad range of online (game) forums to fill out an online survey. Overall, the results of our study suggested that female gamers are less attracted to social communication features and interaction during gameplay than male players. A similar pattern was found for MMO players whereas male MMO players were still more stimulated by social interaction than female MMO players.
Keywords
gender, gaming, stereotypes, game experience, social gaming, game genres

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Chicago
Vermeulen, Lotte, and Jan Van Looy. 2011. “How Social Are They? A Gender-comparative Study into Social Practices in Digital Games.” In International Conference on the Social Aspects of Digital Gaming, Proceedings. Stuttgart, Germany: Hohenheim University.
APA
Vermeulen, Lotte, & Van Looy, J. (2011). How social are they? A gender-comparative study into social practices in digital games. International conference on the social aspects of digital gaming, Proceedings. Presented at the International Conference on the Social Aspects of Digital Gaming, Stuttgart, Germany: Hohenheim University.
Vancouver
1.
Vermeulen L, Van Looy J. How social are they? A gender-comparative study into social practices in digital games. International conference on the social aspects of digital gaming, Proceedings. Stuttgart, Germany: Hohenheim University; 2011.
MLA
Vermeulen, Lotte, and Jan Van Looy. “How Social Are They? A Gender-comparative Study into Social Practices in Digital Games.” International Conference on the Social Aspects of Digital Gaming, Proceedings. Stuttgart, Germany: Hohenheim University, 2011. Print.
@inproceedings{1893965,
  abstract     = {Several studies into the motivations for playing digital games have found {\textquoteleft}social contact{\textquoteright} to be one of the major motivational dimensions. Playing digital games offer a large amount of  opportunities for creating in-game social relationships and for developing or maintaining real life friendships. Although women are less involved with digital games than men, games which encourage social interaction, such as massively multiplayer online games (MMO{\textquoteright}s), do seem to attract a widespread female audience. This could point to the fact that females{\textquoteright} aloof from gaming is partly due to a lack of social structure and sense of community into digital games. Other studies, however, disagree with this statement and  argue that women are less inclined to social motives than men are. The aim of this study is to dig deeper into the above claims and explore in what way social experience as a motivation differs across gender.  We draw upon a sample of 962 respondents recruited on a broad range of online (game) forums to fill out an online survey. Overall, the results of our study suggested that female gamers are less attracted to social communication features and interaction during gameplay than male players. A similar pattern was found for MMO players whereas male MMO players were still more stimulated by social interaction than female MMO players.},
  author       = {Vermeulen, Lotte and Van Looy, Jan},
  booktitle    = {International conference on the social aspects of digital gaming, Proceedings},
  keyword      = {gender,gaming,stereotypes,game experience,social gaming,game genres},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Stuttgart, Germany},
  pages        = {15},
  publisher    = {Hohenheim University},
  title        = {How social are they? A gender-comparative study into social practices in digital games},
  year         = {2011},
}