IR10 Presentation Milwaukee Oct 9 2009


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  • intro
  • How it started.
  • -more than two-thirds (68 percent) of American households play computer or video games -women account for 40 percent of PC and console gamers, and 43 percent of online gamers Source: Entertainment Software Association Report 2009
  • -if we looked only at console games, the numbers are lower: only 28% of console gamers are women -Females increased by 5% among Console Gamers, from 23 percent in 2008 to 28 percent in 2009 Source: NPD Group - Gamer Segmentation 2009
  • -the rise in console usage among Console Gamers can be mainly attributed to the Wii -fitness & sports
  • Some reasons: -women only play casual games; they don’t like war & gore -the lack of female characters or lead playable character in games -sexist depictions of women in games -advertisements targeted at teen boys or young male adults -advertisements – colour me pink! Some? all?
  • Social Support: 8% 33 topics 629 replies Encouragement & Help for Offline Personal Issues Depression, Weight & Diet, Problems with spouses/partners & family members
  • -example of harassment from the gamerchix forum… (used with permission)
  • It does - The gamerchix community is really important to many of these women.
  • IR10 Presentation Milwaukee Oct 9 2009

    1. 1. Rethinking Barriers for Female Gamers & the importance of online communities Tracy L. M. Kennedy IR 10 - October 9 th 2009
    2. 3. Tracy Kennedy <ul><li>Tauren Druid </li></ul><ul><li>Kerran Ranger </li></ul><ul><li>GamerchiX </li></ul><ul><li>Angry Pink Spartan </li></ul><ul><li>Role Player </li></ul><ul><li>Casual Gamer </li></ul><ul><li>Social Gamer </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual Worlds Explorer </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher & Educator </li></ul><ul><li>… and more… </li></ul>
    3. 4. <ul><li>Charlie’s Angels </li></ul><ul><li>Pinball Machine 1978 </li></ul><ul><li>Head-to-Head </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic Hockey 1980 </li></ul>
    4. 7. Women do game… Source: Entertainment Software Association Report 2009
    5. 8. Source: NPD Group - Gamer Segmentation 2009 … .but not all
    6. 9. ii
    7. 10. So, where are the rest of the women?
    8. 11. Content, design & marketing
    9. 13. Console Gaming & Social Spaces
    10. 14. Everything Old is New Again? (or has nothing changed?) <ul><li>Email, IRC, list-servs, forums etc </li></ul><ul><ul><li>questions about one's physical appearance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>invites for cybersex </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>threatening & hostile messages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Harassment & cyberstalking & more </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tannen 1994; Fallon 1998; Spender 1997; Spertus 1996; Jenson 1996; Winter & Huff 1996 </li></ul>
    11. 15. How does social gaming shape women’s gaming experiences?
    12. 16. Women’s Gaming Community: Case Study <ul><li>Xbox Live Forum </li></ul><ul><li>3000 Female gamers in 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Age 4-75 </li></ul><ul><li>US, Canada, Europe </li></ul><ul><li>Members Only access </li></ul><ul><li>Moderated forum </li></ul><ul><li>Not a clan </li></ul>
    13. 17. <ul><li>June 19th 2007: forum ‘snapshot’ </li></ul><ul><li>Content Analysis: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>410 messages posted </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>11301 replies to messages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Messages coded into topics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sub-coded into ‘general’ topics/themes </li></ul></ul>
    14. 18. General Forum Topics <ul><li>Gaming Support </li></ul><ul><ul><li>48% of messages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>200 topics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>6072 replies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hardware, good/bad games, game play suggestions (strategies), glitches, other gaming consoles (Wii, PlayStation etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship Building </li></ul><ul><ul><li>44% of messages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>179 topics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4600 replies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>F2F Meetings, Interactive posts, Looking for friends, Introductions </li></ul></ul>
    15. 19. Social Support <ul><ul><li>8% of messages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>33 topics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>629 replies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Encouragement & Help for Offline Personal Issues: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Depression, Weight & Diet, Problems with spouses/partners & family members </li></ul></ul>
    16. 20. Harassment <ul><li>Verbal abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Porn photos & exhibitionism on webcams </li></ul><ul><li>Team killers (only kill the chicks!) </li></ul><ul><li>Exclusionary practices (booted from games) </li></ul><ul><li>Invites for cybersex </li></ul><ul><li>Harassment occurs : </li></ul><ul><li>During game play </li></ul><ul><li>Outside of game play (Lobbies) </li></ul><ul><li>In forums outside GamerchiX </li></ul>*
    17. 22. “ Hey Ladies! I hope you can help me on this one. I'm being harassed by two guys that used to be on my friends list. They keep sending me friend requests over and over even after I decline them. They're even doing it with their alternate accounts. Is there any way at all for me to block them from sending me friend requests??? I've searched all over and I can't find a way to block them. This is day 3 of all this and it's getting quite annoying. I can't believe how childish some people are. =”
    18. 23. “… me and my friend were playing split screen GOW. A guy joins the room and I boot him since I was just about to invite my friend. The guy keeps coming back – about 3 times, and he sent me messages saying curse words and more. I message him and tell him - ‘I’m not scared of you so leave me alone’. He sends me a pic message with him holdin the xbox controller in one hand and a gun that’s real and its pointing to the camera, i immediately blocked communication with him. what should i do about this person?????????”
    19. 24. OMG!! Yes, if there is a gamer out there who hasn’t had an unpleasant experience then I will be totally shocked. Yes, everyday (I mean everyday) there is male harassment (especially since you are a girl) for both males and females. I get a lot of sexually related emails from people that I don’t know (I block their communications). If they are really bad then I report them through GamerchiX directly to Trixie [moderator] she has asked us to. The problem is that you can’t report them all. Trixie would just be flooded, so how to combat it or at least control the amount of it?? I don’t know, there is no avenue through XBOX to report such lewd and threatening acts - except for the feedback option. I just don’t think that is enough for some of these gamers to be reported on. Especially if they are soliciting sexual materials. We have had many a discussion thread on our experiences and we share what we have seen and what we did about it. I think that we find “safety in numbers” if you know what I mean, but to me it is still not enough.
    20. 25. Does that mean that social gaming is always a negative experience for women?
    21. 26. Social Gaming & Community <ul><li>Meeting people with common interest (gaming) </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing stories – not alone </li></ul><ul><li>Creating safe spaces to discuss sensitive topics </li></ul><ul><li>Creating safe online gaming places – gaming with friends, groups & clans </li></ul><ul><li>Mentoring & learning </li></ul><ul><li>Help on how to stop abuse & harassment </li></ul>
    22. 27. “ I feel GamerchiX has encouraged us ladies to become more vocal and active on Xbox LIVE without having to worry about being hit on, cussed out or kicked out of a game just because we are girls.” “ GamerchiX has really given me an opportunity to meet some wonderful ladies. I've been online so much more than I was before and have become much more vocal when I game because I'm not afraid of getting talked down to.” “ Girls of all ages and from all backgrounds have a safe environment to chat and play without fear of negative comments and remarks.” Community Matters!
    23. 28. Beyond the game & forum Bridging online/offline spaces
    24. 29. F2F: role models & mentors
    25. 30. <ul><li>June 2006: 300 </li></ul><ul><li>June 2007: 3000 </li></ul><ul><li>June 2008: 6000 </li></ul><ul><li>June 2009: 10000 </li></ul>
    26. 32. <ul><li>* </li></ul>
    27. 33. Offline & Online
    28. 34. Solitary to Social <ul><li>console gaming is becoming more & more about the ‘social’ & the interactive – online & offline </li></ul><ul><li>need to think about social issues in these social spaces </li></ul><ul><li>harassment potential impediment to keeping women interested and invested in gaming </li></ul><ul><li>how to manage these social spaces in a way that situates gaming as a positive experience for gamers </li></ul><ul><li>community (still) matters </li></ul>
    29. 35. Thanks & game on! PhD Candidate – University of Toronto Dept of Sociology Course Instructor - Brock University Dept. of Communications, Popular Culture & Film Tracy Kennedy [email_address]