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A Third Of Male Gamers Prefer Playing As Female Characters

Electronic Arts Z | Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Written by 

Tom Chapman

Posted 

10th Aug 2021 12:09

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It's a cold night in Gotham City. The Clown Prince of Crime is running rampant once again, and the Bat Signal is illuminating the sky. Instead of swooping down as the Caped Crusader, you slink into action as Catwoman. Taking out a group of Penguin's goons, you do a backflip, and you're gone into the shadows. While some might assume you're a woman, you aren't a female gamer, you're a man, sat in your chair and saving the day as the opposite sex.

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While the world of video games was once a macho backdrop where we were confined to playing as Mario, Doomyguy, or Master Chief, the modern industry has come a long way. Whether you want to play as Princess Peach, a female version of Cyberpunk 2077's V, or FemShep, the world is your oyster. Now, it turns out a lot of you men actually prefer playing as a woman. 

Do male gamers prefer playing as female characters?

A new survey from Quantic Foundry asked 500,000 gamers whether they prefer playing as a male or female avatar. Those who took part came from around the world and played a variety of genres that covered everything from MMOs to RPGs.

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Although the majority of players prefer sticking to their own gender identity, male gamers were more willing to play as a female character. 29% of male gamers indicated a preference to play as a female character, while only 9% of female participants would rather play as a man.

The research also took into account nonbinary players, with there being a 38% preference for nonbinary characters, a 33% preference for female, and just 10% for male characters. All of the above aligns with previous research. Back in 2001, research claimed male EverQuest players were four to six times more likely to play as a female character than female players were likely to play as a male. There were similar findings in a 2005 World of Warcraft survey - with 55% of female avatars apparently being controlled by male players. 

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Why do so many male gamers like playing as a female character?

It would be interesting to delve deeper into why so many male players prefer playing as a woman. The survey posits that some might perceive female avatars to be weaker, therefore there could be a tactical advantage to playing as them. Elsewhere, there are ideas that playing as a female character is more likely to earn "freebies" through social interactions.

Finally, there's an argument that men playing as female avatars is a way to objectify women. This is summed by the anecdote of, "If I have to stare at a butt all day, I would rather it be a female butt". Although the majority still stick to playing as their own identity, there's a growing number who are happy to toss aside gender norms and play as a woman.

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Most interestingly, these figures represent how things have changed.  The aforementioned FemShep has become an icon of the Mass Effect series, however, just 18% of fans played as her when Mass Effect 2 released in 2010. These days, FemShep is arguably more popular than her male counterpart - which led to voice actor Jennifer Hale "ugly crying" over the remaster.

Only recently, we saw the popularity of the Ariana Grande concert in Fortnite, where tens (if not hundreds) of thousands as men dressed as the pop diva inside Epic Games' live event. Whether you prefer playing as a man, a woman, or any form of identification, we say what's the harm as long as you're all having fun? Now, if you'll excuse us, we're off to slip into some PVC to hopefully play as Spider-Gwen Marvel's Spider-Man 2

 

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Valve Is Working On Games That Play While They Download

Valve | Microsoft

Written by 

Joseph Kime

Posted 

26th Sep 2021 11:30

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