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Gender Swapping and User Behaviors in Online Social Games

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Veröffentlicht am

WWW2013 Paper Authors:
Jing-Kai Lou, Kunwoo Park, Meeyoung Cha,
Juyong Park, Chin-Laung Lei, and Kuan-Ta Chen

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Modern Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games
(MMORPGs) provide lifelike virtual environments in which players
can conduct a variety of activities including combat, trade, and
chat with other players. While the game world and the available actions
therein are inspired by their offline counterparts, the games’
popularity and dedicated fan base are testament to the allure of
novel social interactions granted to people by granting them an
alternative life as new characters and personae. In this paper we
investigate the phenomenon of “gender swapping,” which refers to
players choosing avatars of genders opposite to their natural ones.
We report the behavioral patterns observed in players of Fairyland
Online, a globally serviced MMORPG, during social interactions
when playing as in-game avatars of their own real gender or genderswapped,
and discuss the effect of gender role and self-image in
virtual social situations and the potential of our study for improving
MMORPG qualities and detection of fake online identities.

Veröffentlicht in: Technologie
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Gender Swapping and User Behaviors in Online Social Games

  1. Gender Swapping and User Behaviorsin Online Social GamesJing-Kai Lou, Kunwoo Park, Meeyoung Cha,Juyong Park, Chin-Laung Lei, Kuan-Ta ChenIn proc. of the 22nd International Conference on WWW 2013
  2. 2Online game as a research platform• Games provide lifelike virtual environments– Social relationships: friends, guilds– Chat– Battles– Trades• Research opportunities– Human mobility patterns [La and Michiardi, WOSN 2008]– Understand the structure [Son et al., PLoS One 2012]– Verify social theories [Szell and Thurner, Scientific Report 2013]
  3. 3Gender is a strong social stimulus• Ego’s view of alters depends heavily on their genders[Credit: Final Fantasy XIII-3]
  4. 4Research on gender roles• Gender swapping is widespread– Swapping first observed in MUD[Bruckman, Proc. Of Internet Society 1993]– Two thirds of players do [Cole and Griffiths, Cyber Psychology & Behavior 2007]• Gender roles– Males play for a longer period of time and achieve higherlevels, while females play games to meet people[Yee, MIT Press Journals 2006]– Males are achievers and females are socializers[Bartle, J. of Vir. Env. 1996]– Homosexual players are likelier to swap genders[Huh and Williams, Springer 2010]Existing research on human behaviors hasrelied on one-time self-reported data
  5. 5Gender swapping• Users can choose to play with avatars of their opposite gender• Notation: Player-Gender.Avatar-Gender4 types (M.M, M.F, F.M, F.F) for a given user16 types for a given pair of usersM.FGender-swappedM.MStraight
  6. Gender swapping Game data Our findings[Credit: Little Big Planet]
  7. 7Fairyland data• Provided by the Lager Technology in Taiwan• 4538 players and 17610 avatars in 2003• player profiles (offline) – age, gender, zipcode• avatar info (online) – avatar gender, friends list, activity
  8. 8Correlation with geography• Q: Are urbanites more likely to swap genders?• A: NoGender ratio was nearly consistentin rural and urban areas (p=0.5697)
  9. 9Correlation with player gender• Q: Are male (or female) players more likely to swap genders?• A: Yes, females (45%) do so more than males (37%)Both male and female players owned similar numbers of avatars (p=0.1131)but females were more likely to swap genders (p = 6.2228e-08)
  10. 10Correlation with player maturity• Q: Are older players morelikely to swap genders?What about players withmany avatars?• A: Yes to both Qs.Experienced users mayknow the benefits ofgender-swapping!
  11. What are the potential benefits of gender swapping?
  12. 12Impact on level-ups• Q: Do gender swappers achieve a higher level more quickly?– Leveling up takes an increasing amount of time as levels rise– Male players level up more quickly than female players– Players achieve a higher level more quickly with male avatarsLevel-ups clearly show that players follow thegender role theory that males are achievers
  13. 13Impact on chat frequency• Q: Who sends messages to whom?– The odds ratio against random expectations– Players are likely to send messages to opposite-gender avatars– The trend is reversed in friendship formationMales like to talk to those who dress up as females!(and vice versa)
  14. 14Impact on chat length• Q: Do players chat longer when gender-swapped?– Female players chat longer than male players (similar to phone calls)– Chats are longer between opposite-gender avatarsChat activity also follows the gender role theory
  15. 15Chat exampleI am gender-swapped! 
  16. 16Impact on economic activity• Q: Do gender-swappers get a better deal?– Market price of the five most traded items and their expected gainsFemale avatars tend to profit more in trades
  17. 17Trade example$12 $10 $15 $13Selling priceI am gender-swapped! 
  18. Gender swapping Game data Our findings
  19. 19Potential applications• Gender roles and identities are associated with the choice of avatars• Bot detection: use gender-related features to boost accuracy• Online identity fraud detection: find sexual deviants or predators
  20. 20Summary• Gender swapping is prevalent in online games→ May indicate potential benefits• Although chats occur more frequently between opposite-genderavatars, friendships form between the same-gender players→ Alternative identity does not completely mask the real persona• Female players act more achievement-oriented when genderswapped, while female avatars profit more in trades→ Gamers actions depend on their identity in games
  21. OBRIGADA21
  22. 22Game characteristics• Gender ratio: 40% of the players were female (other games: 16-32%)• Age ratio: 87% of the players were aged between 10-30 (8% over 30)• Peak hours: 8-9 PM (5AM the lowest)