GEL Lab researcher Dr. Robby Ratan and colleagues presented three game-related talks at the ICA conference last weekend!
Razing the Virtual Glass Ceiling: Gendered Economic Disparity in Two Massive Online Games
Rabindra A. Ratan Vili Lehdonvirta Tracy L. M. Kennedy Dmitri Williams
Research has consistently shown a gap between male and female income earners. Explanations have been found in social expectations and mechanisms relating to gender roles. In this paper, we investigate what happens to gendered economic disparity when those mechanisms are removed. We examine wealth creation within the virtual economies of two massively-multiplayer online games (MMOs)—environments where gender cues are malleable and meritocracy trumps identity—in the first study on economic disparity within multiple MMOs. Observed measures of player behavior indicate that player sex and character gender have a statistically significant relationship with virtual wealth, but in practice the effect is very small. While further research is needed on observed gender differences in play styles and motivations in virtual environments, the present results support an optimistic argument: as workplaces turn increasingly virtual, obfuscating physical gender cues and traditional allocation mechanisms, gendered economic disparity in society is likely reduced.
The Avatar Shadow Passenger: Physiological Effects of Self-Presence After Disconnection From the Avatar
Rabindra A. Ratan Christelle Williams Michael Dawson
GEL Lab researcher Dr. Wei Peng and colleagues are presenting four meaningful play-related talks at the ICA conference this weekend!
1. Peng, W., Lin, J-H., & Kim, G. (2012, May). The contribution of graphic and enactive realism to video game enjoyment and effort. Paper to be presented at the Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, Phoenix, AZ.
Realism is an important factor contributing to game experiences. However, conceptualization and operationalization of realism in previous video game studies vary greatly, mostly centering on the dimensions of graphic realism and external realism. We argue that it is important to examine enactive realism, particularly for interactive and participatory media such as video games. Additionally, previous studies investigating the effect of realism in video games predominantly focus on the outcome of player aggression, overlooking positive outcomes such as enjoyment. To fill the gap in the existing literature, this study examines the contribution of two types of realism—graphic realism and enactive realism—to enjoyment and effort in an active video game playing context. It was found that enactive realism was a significant predictor for enjoyment and effort in playing Wii games. However, graphic realism was not found to be a significant predictor for enjoyment, perceived effort or actual effort. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
2. Peng, W., Lin, J-H., Pfeiffer, K. A., & Winn, B. (2012, May). Need satisfaction supportive game features as motivational determinants: An experimental study of a self-determination theory guided exergame. Paper to be presented at the Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, Phoenix, AZ.
Note: Top Papers Award in the Game Studies SIG.