Low-Skilled Gamers More Likely to Be Hostile Towards Female Gamers


Are You Angry at Female Gamers? It Might Be a Skill Issue.

If you’ve ever ventured into online gaming and enabled chat or messages from strangers, you’ve likely noticed that gaming has a significant misogyny problem.

Harassment Statistics for Female Gamers

Surveys indicate that around 50% of women have experienced some form of harassment online, with that number jumping to 75% for women aged 18-24.

While many factors contribute to this behavior, an interesting study from 2015 sheds light on a specific aspect:

low-skilled gamers are more hostile towards female teammates than their higher-skilled counterparts.

The Study and Its Context

This study was conducted during the height of the misogynistic Gamergate campaign.

Researchers hypothesized that male gamers, especially those who perform poorly, felt threatened by female players entering what they considered their domain.

Methodology: Halo 3 as a Test Environment

To test this, the researchers chose the game Halo 3, which masks player identities behind armor, revealing gender only through voice and possibly gamer tags.

They analyzed recordings of gameplay, focusing on stats like kill count and death count, and compared interactions when players heard a male or female voice or no voice at all.

Pre-Recorded Phrases and Response Analysis

Researchers used pre-recorded phrases spoken by male and female voices such as, “I like this map,” “Nice shot there,” and “That was a good game everyone.”

They then categorized the responses into positive, negative, and neutral, and linked these to the players’ skill levels.

Key Findings: Hostility Linked to Skill Level

The findings were clear: low-skilled players who performed poorly (with few kills and many deaths) were more likely to make negative comments, especially towards female-voiced teammates. Conversely, these players were less hostile towards male-voiced teammates, often showing submissive behavior.

Real-World Implications

The study highlighted that gaming behavior could influence real-world interactions, as seen with Gamergate.

The researchers concluded that reinforcing gender segregation in gaming could promote socially unacceptable behaviors like sexism in real life.

Key Takeaways:

  • Low-skilled gamers are more hostile towards female gamers.
  • The study used Halo 3, analyzing interactions based on voice.
  • Poor-performing players were more negative towards female voices.
  • Gaming behavior can impact real-world interactions, promoting sexism.

This study underscores the need to address misogyny in gaming, not just for a better gaming experience but to prevent these attitudes from spilling into everyday life.