Playable female characters in video games have become increasingly more acceptable in the mind of the average gamer. Video games like the Mass Effect series allow gamers to choose to play as either male or female. Despite the industry's data showing that the male character is more likely to be played, vocal fans of the game will often argue that the female character is more desirable depending on the experience that the player is wanting. It is this inconsistency between the gaming industry's data on gender choice and the fans that go against this data that leads to the present research. This research explores why men play female characters in video games. Previous literature found that avatar choices matter to gamers, both for how they are viewed and how they experience the game. This literature suggests that gamers make character decisions based on the desired gaming experience. Data for the current study consists of comments from five Reddit posts and from supplementary surveys completed by volunteers from Reddit. Four main categories that encompassed the numerous results are identified: in-game advantages, player-character interactions, exploration of new experiences and/or identities, and novelty. Each category also features a number of subcategories that were identified first and then combined to make the final four categories. The results found supported previous literature as well as expanded the literature to offer more insight behind why male gamers choose to play as female characters. This choice is ultimately reliant upon varied factors on which they base their choices for the desired gaming experience.
- Factors Influencing Male Gamers' Choice to Play Female Characters
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