Avatars in FPS

As a follow up on the discussion we had in class today on the male character of Doom I found an article on GameStudies.org that provided some evidence and insight into this discussion. Michael Hitchens surveyed a range of FPS games to look at the trends of the avatars we play. Hitchens surveyed 566 games and obtained information on the gender of the avatar for 482 games. The following charts from Hitchens article show the clear trend of avatars in FPS games.

 

As this table clearly shows the vast majority of the avatars are male.

Not only do the avatars of FPS tend to be males they also tend to be Caucasian.

The background of the Avatar also tends to be military.

Hitchens surveys provide empirical evidence that in FPS the vast majority of avatars are male, Caucasian, and of military background. “81 percent of titles require a player to play a male avatar, and this shows no signs of decreasing (if anything, the reverse is true)” (Hitchens). This data provides good insight into what we think an avatar should be. I think that this is a very interesting trend to discuss. I think these FPS games provide a clear image of what we as a society view as correct avatar. It is not as if FPS games that do not have a male, Caucasian, military man have not enjoyed success. Metroid Prime for example has enjoyed tremendous success and the avatar is a female. I believe that society is stuck in automatically thinking of a Caucasian military man as the perfect avatar. I personally enjoy games with a less traditional avatar and I hope that the trend will shift away from being predominantly Caucasian males.

Works Cited

Hitchens, Michael. “A Survey of First-person Shooters and Their Avatars.”GameStudies.org. Web. 17 Apr. 2012. <http://gamestudies.org/1103/articles/michael_hitchens>.

Comments

  1. I view this article a few weeks ago. The male avatar definitely tells the majority crowd who plays FPS’s. I am not sure on the purpose of it always being Caucasian. Unfortunately, white supremacy I presume?I never played Metroid Prime so correct me if I am wrong, but during the entire game up until the ending isn’t the player fooled in thinking it is a male? I think she is so successful because the player is so shocked that all the manly destruction was done by an awesome female avatar.

  2. Stone Drum says:

    You are mostly incorrect about Metroid Prime. I would go as far to say that many players already know Samus is a woman before they even begin the game from playing past iterations of the franchise. However, you are never really fooled into thinking Samus is a man, she is never portrayed in a way that could give the player that impression, her gender is just concealed until the very end of the game. Although, if you charge your beam and shoot it when you are facing a wall, the reflected light makes her face reflect into your visor, so in subtle ways like that, the player may actually be fooled into thinking she is a woman, which she is of course.

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