From Raph, I just read (skimmed really) “Looking for Gender (LFG): Gender roles and behaviors among online gamers” which is summarized here.
This research was carried out on EQ2 players, over one weekend. It included a survey, and other data, such as play time and kills. Anything identifying was removed, so don’t worry.
They found that, in general, males are more motivated by achievement, and females are more motivated to socialize. This is typical for such studies. However, the difference was smaller than was expected.
Your mileage may vary, of course. Mine does. These days, I only play to catch up with my friends. I’m completely burned out when it comes to crashing more void shard zones for more shards for better armor for the next toon, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah.
So that makes me a social player. At the moment. I’ve been very achievement oriented at times. How many hours did I spend in Lavastorm crunching through writs so that I could gain faction with The Concordium? Too many. Mostly solo, too.
They also found that there was a smaller group of women who were very hard core. The top 10% of women players played more hours than the top 10% men, and made more kills per hour. They were highly achievement oriented. Fascinating, Captain.
I find myself wishing that they would look at play experience, and cross-correlate with gender. I’ve seen many women who started playing because their husband/boyfriend/whatever did, as a way to socialize. But as they continued playing, and gained experience, they seem to become more engaged in the play of the game itself. Which is not to say they all became grinders, but they do tend to become more confident and assertive. Of a brief list of women I know who play, only a small minority played a class other than a healer first.
But after they play a while, things seem to change. They will log on even when their partner hasn’t/can’t. They will play dps classes. Some even try out tanking classes, which I posit are the most “masculine”, at least in EQ2.
One other finding that intrigued me was this: Bisexual females are highly overrepresented in EQ2, though not so bisexual males. I don’t know what that means, and skimming the paper didn’t help.
They don’t report for transgendered males/females. I would think that MMO’s are a godsend to such individuals, actually, and would expect them to be strongly overrepresented in MMO populations. Has anybody studied this?