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In Video Games Gay Characters Are Generally Avoided By The Gamers
In video games, I get to do things as I want to, which is something I miss when I’m doing anything. In Mario Kart, I play as Princess Peach whenever I want to pretend I’m royalty. In Tekken, I can play Bruce Lee by selecting Marshall Law.
Players consider an avatar’s abilities, weaknesses, and visual design while making a selection. However, gamers also base their decisions on details like a character’s sexuality that are never revealed during gameplay and have no bearing on the game’s outcome. According to my findings, other players may respond to such characters differently in-game. The gaming business can benefit greatly from this. Some businesses show their support for social movements in anything from advertising campaigns to labels on their products. These businesses may be hesitant to continue their support of underrepresented communities if they receive negative feedback, which could inhibit homosexual players from taking part.
There are 32 playable characters in Overwatch, each with its unique look and set of abilities. Blizzard also uses the ongoing development of these characters’ backstories as a marketing tool. Their backstories don’t alter the gameplay in any way, nor do they affect the characters’ abilities or appearances. Nonetheless, the significance of these tales to the fan base has led to an additional way in which they have impacted Overwatch. In May of this year (2019), an Overwatch writer revised the backstory of one male character, Soldier: 76. According to what he wrote, Soldier: 76 was out and proudly dating another man. It was common knowledge in the actual world, but a game changer in the virtual world.
Hundreds of people responded to the announcement on Twitter and other social media. The tweet was liked by many athletes who agreed with the announcement. However, this choice did not sit well with all players; some even threatened to stop playing Overwatch and accused Blizzard of profiting from political correctness. The investigators on our team were curious as to whether or not this declaration affected the outcome of the game. Would your opinion of Soldier: 76 alter if you played it? We analyzed the selection rate—the frequency with which gamers chose a given character—before, during, and after the announcement. The selection rate for Soldier: 76 unexpectedly plummeted after the announcement. Many players avoided using the character after they found out about the leak.
Interestingly, several players opted for Tracer, the game’s lone lesbian character, over Soldier: 76. Tracer, the protagonist of Soldier: 76, has been out as gay since the game came out, even though most people assumed he was straight. We conducted an online survey to learn how players were affected by the news and how they felt about the change. As a result, hundreds of players chimed in. The majority of respondents were male (83.77%), and they were primarily located in either North America (49.5%) or Europe (5.67%). (39.5 percent). Almost everyone was aware that Soldier: 76 was gay, but they didn’t seem to mind. They said that the game was unaffected by the protagonist’s sexual orientation being changed. After the announcement, many players reported feeling uneasy and discriminated against when using the Soldier: 76 identities. They eventually got sick of the homophobic remarks and frequent harassment and pretended to be different personas.
Read also: Bros Teaches Us Its Fine to Let Gay Art Fail.
What considerations do players make for such personal characteristics, and how do these considerations relate to issues of online discrimination and harassment? Overwatch, a first-person shooter that has been a huge financial success for its developer Blizzard (to the tune of almost $1 billion), has provided us with the perfect environment to study these issues. What occurs in Overwatch, then, has real-world consequences. The gaming community, as has been noted by many gamers, also draws a clear line between the game’s two LGBTQ characters. Tracer is a female character, in contrast to the male Soldier: 76. According to the survey responses of certain players, other players find lesbians attractive and engaging, while the same players express disgust when discussing homosexual men.
Identifying instances of bias is crucial because it provides context for fixing the issue at hand. Nonetheless, the next move is to develop strategies for reducing prejudice. My research group also conducted a study in conjunction with a soccer federation to reduce bias in the sport. E-mailing coaches about how sports may foster diversity and combat racism was found to be effective in a randomized controlled study. Through collaboration with those already working in e-sports who share a commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion, we hope to do the same.
Some gamers prefer to believe that the qualities of teamwork and loyalty to a shared goal, which are sorely missing in the real world, can be learned through immersion in a virtual world. However, our research demonstrates that games can be significantly more inviting to some players than others and that bias and discrimination are present in the video game world just as they are in the real world. When it comes to providing fresh experiences for gamers, video games are constantly on the cutting edge of innovation, including the latest in both art and technology. Historically, both players and spectators have adjusted to the constant flux of the sport’s landscape. The gaming community on the internet has to open its arms to its many different members and examine its prejudices. In-game characters and the players who choose them should be accepted without prejudice.
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