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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Do Men Advance Faster Than Women? Debunking the Gender Performance Gap in Two Massively Multiplayer Online Games

  • Author(s): Shen, C
  • Ratan, R
  • Cai, YD
  • Leavitt, A
  • et al.

© 2016 International Communication Association Prior research on digital games illustrates a perceived gender gap in participation and performance, suggesting men as playing more and better than women. This article challenges the gender gap using longitudinal behavioral data of men and women in 2 MMOs in the United States and China. Results show that women advance at least as fast as men do in both games. Thus, perceived gender-based performance disparities seem to result from factors that are confounded with gender (i.e., amount of play), not player gender itself. We conclude that the stereotype of female players as inferior is not only false, but also a potential cause for unequal participation in digital gaming.

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