EDSIGCON Proceedings 2020

Virtual Conference, November 2020

Conference Highlights

2020 EDSIG Proceedings: Panel Presentation

What is a Gamer: An exploration of culture, identity, and belonging?

Jennifer Breese
Pennsylvania State University

Jeffery Chiampi
Penn State Wilkes-Barre

Donna Bayer
Penn State University

David Giles
Penn State University Harrisburg

The purpose of this panel is to assist in the research development exploring whether ‘gamers’ identify themselves as gamers or not and why? Duggan (2015) found that 50% of men and 48% of women play video games in some form or fashion be it on consoles, mobile applications, or computers; however, a striking number of both populations shun the descriptor of ‘gamer.’ Men identified themselves as gamers at a rate nearly four times that of women who said the same. The identification statistics garner even further interest when the actual identification number of 15% of men and 6% of women is reported (Duggan, 2015).

Duggan (2015) focused primarily on traditional gender roles or heteronormative with an additional review of ethnicities. A limited number of authors are looking at gender with regard to feminism (Gray et al., 2018) in video games aside from potentially more obvious masculinity potential issues (Taylor & Vorhees, 2018) and the Gamergate controversy. Gamergate has been a blanket term used to describe the controversy of gender harassment or more specifically a backlash against a perceived feminism increase in video games. Ruberg and Shaw (2017); Ruberg (2019, 2020); and Shaw (2015) have delved heavily into gender specifically Queer and TGBTQ gaming overall.

Paaßen et al. (2016) found that, at best, the male gamer stereotype is only partially accurate but is seemingly compatible with the male identity. They concluded that an underlying hostility towards women in gaming and an incompatibility between the female and gamer identities results in fewer women identifying themselves as gamers despite playing many of the same games as men.

Targeted Attendees
Participants need no experience in gaming; introductory, or intermediate background are both acceptable and encouraged. We are looking to garner opinions from all levels. Panel participants will range from literature review to actual gaming experts.