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Are Men Better Gamers Than Women?

Study debunks the gender performance gap in two massively multiplayer online games.

Although more and more women have become gamers, gaming communities and culture are still somewhat hostile toward women. There is a long-held stereotype that men are better gamers than women. This has received some support in prior research on digital games, which illustrates a perceived gender gap in participation and performance, suggesting that men play more often and more competitively than women.

In a recent study published in Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Professor Cuihua (Cindy) Shen and collaborators Rabindra Ratan (MSU), Y. Dora Cai (Illinois) and Alex Leavitt (USC) debunk the gender gap using longitudinal behavioral data from over 10,000 men and women in two Massively Multiplayer Online Games, EverQuest II in the US and Chevaliers' Romance III in China. Results suggest that the perception of women as poor gamers is fueled by other factors besides gender, such as the total amount of play. When they statistically adjusted for such confounding factors, they found that women advance at least as fast as men do in both games. The study concludes that the stereotype of female players as inferior is not only false, but also a potential cause for unequal participation in digital gaming which then cyclically fuels the stereotype.

Read more about the study: "Do Men Advance Faster Than Women? Debunking the Gender Performance Gap in Two Massively Multiplayer Online Games." Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication is ranked 2/76 in communication and has a five-year impact factor of 3.799.