Findings indicate that, on average, the female voice received three times as many negative comments as the male voice or no voice.
In addition, the female voice received more queries and more messages from other gamers than the male voice or no voice.
And while the male voice did receive negative comments as well, there was a difference in language usage.
The authors noted a “a clear pattern of negative comments associated with the female condition.” On several occasions the female condition was exposed to derogatory gendered language.
But the use of gendered insults and the tripled rate of negative comments, regardless of skill level or win percentage, indicates that something more than just a proclivity for trash-talk is at the core of this particular problem.
Now, it’s important to remember that this study is reflective of isolated gaming environment, not of video games as a whole.As the authors note, “Caution should be shown when generalizing the findings of this study to other games or genres.” It’s because of that specificity that this study leaves me with many more questions. Would there be a difference between genre or platform?Does the average age of a player base change anything?When the female condition said, ‘alright team let’s do this’, the other gamer replied, ‘fuck you, you stupid slut.’ Neither this sort of language nor the frequency of this behavior will be news anyone who’s spent time in voice chat, but it is the first time I’ve seen it described in formal research (if there are other examples out there, do pass them along).So often, conversations about in-game harassment are anecdotal, and while personal experiences should absolutely be talked about, it’s helpful to see some objective data that illustrates what a problem this is.Does the style of gameplay or intensity of competition affect the rate of harassment?Does the game content — such as stereotypical portrayals of female characters, or the inclusion of military combat or other traditionally male environments — have an effect?What might we learn about other forms of verbal abuse, such as racist comments directed toward someone with a different accent or dialect, or homophobic language used as a general purpose insult?And though all of these factors are more reflective of larger societal problems than of the gaming community alone, is there any way this information can be used to help make multiplayer gaming a more inclusive place? Online multiplayer is a spectacular idea, in concept.By observing gamers in the field, without informing them of the study, Kuznekoff and Rose acquired some rare real-world data.The downside is that said data is pretty depressing.