Study Shows MMO-Playing Women Overwhelmingly Bisexual

Illustration for article titled Study Shows MMO-Playing Women Overwhelmingly Bisexual

The infamous Everquest 2 lying survey continues to make waves, as newly uncovered results reveal that the MMO has five times more bisexual women than the general populace.

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The data used in the original survey has been pared down a bit for this new report, which studies gender difference amongst the unnaturally fit EQ2 populace. Along with echoing previous findings (females generally getting more into the games than men), lead researcher Scott Caplan of the University of Delaware explains that women who play MMO games are those more-likely to reject gender stereotypes. This conclusion is supported by the gathered data, indicating five times the amount of bisexuality among women in the game as compared to the general population.

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Wow. That's a lot of physically fit bisexual women milling about, isn't it? It's as if they polled the population of any given college town.

"These are not people who are following strict gender stereotypes," said Prof Caplan.

"I think that the game itself is right now a very non-traditional activity for women, and so I think what you would find in this population are going to be people who are in other ways less traditional than the majority population."

Of course i have to stress once again - these are the results of a voluntary study in which participants received a free in-game item for participating, so I can't really see how they can even begin to pretend that they tallied accurate results. If I was told to complete a study in order to receive a free in-game item, I'd complete that puppy so fast that I might have wound up one of those hardcore bisexual raider women.

Think about that before you start fantasizing about that hot wood elf you saw running about Qeynos.

The virtual battle of the sexes [BBC - Thanks MaxS!]

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DISCUSSION

As someone with a PhD in new media studies and who has experience with surveys, let me say the following. They receive a gift for participating, why should that encourage them to lie about anything? Getting anyone to do a survey for nothing leads to a very low number of people filling out the survey. You have to have offer something in return (at universities it is often credit for undergrads).

However, the problems with self-reported data are very well known (even when the results are anonymous, people can misreport for a variety of reasons). I have no idea if Caplan deals with them, or addresses them. He should.

But Mike, for you to suggest that people are more likely to lie because they receive an in-game gift is completely absurd. What facts do you have to support your hypothesis on that one? (Besides yourself, apparently. You don't represent everyone else, statistically speaking.) Note that I'm not saying that receiving a gift makes them more likely to tell the truth, but I certainly don't see why you suggest it should make respondents more likely to lie. That's bad reporting on your part.

If Caplan's results seem unusual, he needs to research them further so he can back them up. For anyone to really comment on the content of the findings, they need to read Caplan's paper. I haven't, so I won't, but I can comment on general survey methodology and survey analysis. (Full disclosure, I don't know Caplan.)

As a gamer, I'm tired of media people making uninformed comments about games. This includes everyone's favorite disbarred lawyer Jack T. and his Fox News friends, but I also feel the same way about uninformed comments about game studies. Academic papers are not written for a mainstream audience, they are typically very specialized and follow certain norms, use academic jargon (for better or worse), and assume a very specific PhD audience. I won't understand a paper in chemistry or code written in C#, I don't expect most people without the right background to fully understand anything I write for an academic audience.