Poster Title

Identity Formation and Prescribed Gender Roles Among Female Gamers

Research Mentor(s)

Glenn Tsunokai

Affiliated Department

Sociology

Sort Order

24

Start Date

14-5-2015 10:00 AM

End Date

14-5-2015 2:00 PM

Document Type

Event

Abstract

This study explores the identity formation of female streamers in the male-dominated video gaming community. League of Legends is one of the most widely played video games that have recently grown in popularity. A prominent way for gamers to gain popularity is to broadcast their live gameplay and interact with viewers. This broadcast is commonly referred to as a “stream” and the person playing the video game as the “streamer.” Data were collected on the top 50 streamers who consistently averaged more than 50 viewers at any given time for one month on Twitch.tv. Data were further separated into streamers’ names that appeared most frequently and consistently attracted the highest number of viewers. Two-tailed t-tests were employed to see if there were significant gender differences among the top streamers. In addition, a content analysis was performed on the top streamers’ profiles. The ways in which streamers gain popularity is different based on gender and their own set of streaming objectives. Popular male streamers had the most viewers and were of high ranked status in the game, and therefore gain popularity through high level high play and informative commentary. Popular Female streamers tend to be of lower ranked status in the game and as a result, attract viewers by selling sex appeal as a commodity. Streamers are well known players that serve as public faces to the game, and subsequently play a pivotal role in the maintenance of sociocultural attitudes and norms within a virtual gaming reality. The manner in which top female streamers behave has several implications on how female gamers perceive themselves and how others perceive them.

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May 14th, 10:00 AM May 14th, 2:00 PM

Identity Formation and Prescribed Gender Roles Among Female Gamers

Sociology

This study explores the identity formation of female streamers in the male-dominated video gaming community. League of Legends is one of the most widely played video games that have recently grown in popularity. A prominent way for gamers to gain popularity is to broadcast their live gameplay and interact with viewers. This broadcast is commonly referred to as a “stream” and the person playing the video game as the “streamer.” Data were collected on the top 50 streamers who consistently averaged more than 50 viewers at any given time for one month on Twitch.tv. Data were further separated into streamers’ names that appeared most frequently and consistently attracted the highest number of viewers. Two-tailed t-tests were employed to see if there were significant gender differences among the top streamers. In addition, a content analysis was performed on the top streamers’ profiles. The ways in which streamers gain popularity is different based on gender and their own set of streaming objectives. Popular male streamers had the most viewers and were of high ranked status in the game, and therefore gain popularity through high level high play and informative commentary. Popular Female streamers tend to be of lower ranked status in the game and as a result, attract viewers by selling sex appeal as a commodity. Streamers are well known players that serve as public faces to the game, and subsequently play a pivotal role in the maintenance of sociocultural attitudes and norms within a virtual gaming reality. The manner in which top female streamers behave has several implications on how female gamers perceive themselves and how others perceive them.