Female Gamers: A Thematic Analysis of Their Gaming Experience

Female Gamers: A Thematic Analysis of Their Gaming Experience

Lavinia McLean (International Gaming Research Unit, Department of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK) and Mark D. Griffiths (International Gaming Research Unit, Department of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/ijgbl.2013070105
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Abstract

International evidence indicates that the number of females involved in video-gaming is increasing. Within the context of this increase, there is a need to explore the experiences of this group of gamers in detail. This study explored female experiences of playing video-games. Data were collected from an online discussion forum dedicated to video-gaming; the sample comprised of posts drawn from 409 discussion threads. Thematic analysis of the discussions suggests that gaming is a key element of the female gamers’ identity, with females discussing the integration of gaming into their daily lives on a number of different levels. Similar to previous research, social elements of gaming are highlighted with simultaneous difficulties with online interaction emphasised. These themes are discussed in relation to relevant research in the area, along with recommendations for future research and consideration of possible explanations for the themes observed.
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Introduction

International research has consistently found that compared to females, males play video-games more frequently, are attracted to different games, and play for longer (Rideout, Roberts & Foehr, 2005; Anderson, Gentile & Buckley, 2007; Olsen, Kutner, Baer, Beresin, Warner & Nicholi, 2009; Coyne, Padilla-Walker, Stockdale & Daly, 2011). Therefore, further research is needed to explore these gender differences in motivation to play, and experience of playing. Researchers have argued that the gender differences reported in gaming may be related to (i) socialisation factors (i.e., females not being socially rewarded for playing video-games in the same way as males), (ii) video-games typically being designed by males for other males, and (iii) males having better spatial ability skills than females thus aiding gaming (Krahe & Moller, 2004; Griffiths, 2007; Olsen et al., 2009). However, Entertainment Software Association (2012) reported females now represent 47% of US gamers, with females aged over 18 years representing the fastest growing gamer demographic.

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