Pink and Blue Pixel$: Gender and Economic Disparity in Two Massive Online Games

The Information Society, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 243-255, 2014

42 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2014

See all articles by Vili Lehdonvirta

Vili Lehdonvirta

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Rabindra Ratan

Michigan State University

Tracy Kennedy

Brock University

Dmitri Williams

University of Southern California - Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Information and communication technologies are blurring the boundaries between work and play. We present the first empirical investigation of gender gaps in virtual game economies. Analysing big data sets from two major game economies, we find that player gender and character gender influence virtual wealth in different ways in different games. We conclude that this can be explained by different returns on female- and male-dominated play activities, that is, virtual pink and blue collar occupations. As the line between work and play increasingly blurs, researchers should track which occupations get to keep their conventional economic rewards, and which end up being remunerated in play money.

Keywords: Virtual economy, playbor, prosumer work, online community, online games, digital divide, gender gap, occupational segregation, avatars, MMO

Suggested Citation

Lehdonvirta, Vili and Ratan, Rabindra and Kennedy, Tracy and Williams, Dmitri, Pink and Blue Pixel$: Gender and Economic Disparity in Two Massive Online Games (2014). The Information Society, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 243-255, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2497687

Vili Lehdonvirta (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk

Rabindra Ratan

Michigan State University

Agriculture Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824-1122
United States

Tracy Kennedy

Brock University ( email )

500 Glenridge Avenue
St. Catherines, Ontario L2S 3A1
Canada

Dmitri Williams

University of Southern California - Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism ( email )

3502 Watt Way, Suite 304
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

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