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The Stereotype of Online Gamers: New Characterization or Recycled Prototype?
Kowert Rachel Oldmeadow Julian
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference
The stereotypical online gamer is a socially inept, reclusive, male, with an obsession for gaming. This characterization is shared with a number of other groups too, suggesting it reflects a set of behaviors and concerns common to a range of groups. This study examines the content of the stereotype of online gamers in relation to other similar groups in an attempt to identify the core behaviors or characteristics upon which the stereotype is based. By comparing the similarities and differences in the stereotypes of a range of related groups it is possible to identify the shared and unique features of online gamers that are being reflected in stereotypes about them. Results show similarities in stereotypic content between online gamers and other social groups, including other kinds of gamers. Additionally, the characteristic of social ineptitude, which is a key trait in the stereotype of this group, did not emerge as a distinctive feature for online gamers alone, questioning the unique role that mediated socialization plays in these spaces. Implications for future research within the online gaming population are discussed.