Gameboys and Gadget Girls: Separate Spaces, Parallel Play

Ellis, Megan, Media, Culture, and Technology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Ellcessor, Elizabeth, Media Studies, University of Virginia

Even though women play video games in nearly equal numbers to men, play a variety of games ranging from ‘hardcore’ AAA games to ‘casual’ mobile games, and dedicate a significant amount of time to play, many women are still unwilling to identify as ‘gamers’ and claim membership within the larger gaming community. Gendered marketing practices in the industry may play a role by impacting the consumption preferences of women, which in turn impacts the way that they view their position in the community.
In Chapter 1: Masculine Market and Gaming Girls, I give an overview of the history of video game marketing and how it came to be focused primarily on a masculine audience. I then offer a description of what types of games are typically marketed toward men and women respectively as well as the types of games that existing research suggests women predominantly play
In Chapter 2: Consoles and PCs and Phones, (Oh My!), I discuss my content analysis of video game covers across platforms. The content analysis is broken down into six sections. Together, all these codes serve to distinguish each of the 60 video game covers analyzed as marketed toward either a feminine, masculine, or gender-neutral audience.
In Chapter 3, “Put some clothes on. Go read a book.”, I detail my interviews with 6 women who identified as frequent video game players. I asked the women about their gaming preferences and tried to determine whether they identified as members of the larger gaming community.
Finally, using a mixed methods approach I compare the results of the content analysis and interviews to determine how production companies might attract more feminine players.

MA (Master of Arts)
video games, videogames, games, game studies, women, feminist, feminism, gender
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