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Male gamers who bully female players are literal losers

YouTube: Bungie

YouTube: Bungie

Male gamers who lose are more likely to harass their female competitors than those who win, according to a study.

Men and women played the video game Halo 3 163 times while researchers watched and recorded how they spoke to one another online.

“Low-status males increase female-directed hostility to minimise the loss of status”, the research article, published in the journal PLOS, said.

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The article said male players were the only ones to speak throughout all 163 games, reinforcing “the fact that women are entering a very male-dominated environment”.

“We show that lower-skilled players were more hostile towards a female-voiced team-mate, especially when performing poorly,” the study found.

But the losing male players “behaved submissively towards a male-voiced player in the identical scenario”.

“Higher-skilled players, in contrast, were more positive towards a female relative to a male team-mate,” the study found.

The number of positive comments made by male players increased as their skill level did.

But an increased skill level made no difference to comments directed at male players.

maximum-skill-level-achieved-data

Theories of sexist behaviour tested

The study was a collaboration between the University of New South Wales’ Kasumovic Lab and the University of Miami.

It was designed to test two theories of what drives sexist behaviour.

The first: “Men behave in a sexist manner towards women to remove them from a male-dominated arena”, regardless of any player’s ability.

The second: “Sexist behaviour is in response to a threat to a male’s position in the hierarchy, which if reduced, limits his access to potential mates.”

The research comes as the treatment of women in the video game industry is being watched globally after last year’s GamerGate scandal.

An American game developer faced backlash online after accusations about how she garnered support for one of her games surfaced.

Other female gamers expressed their support for her and the women were threatened with murder and rape.

The issue quickly erupted into a culture war debating misogyny and the way women were treated in gaming.

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