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Analysis of gender representation in the Overwatch game

Grant number: 20/15574-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2021
Effective date (End): March 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Social Psychology
Principal researcher:Luiz Antonio Lourencetti
Grantee:Letícia Ayumi Souza Salzedas
Home Institution: Centro Universitário Sagrado Coração (UNISAGRADO). Instituto das Apóstolas do Sagrado Coração de Jesus (IASCJ). Bauru , SP, Brazil

Abstract

This study has as an objective the analysis on the representation of character genders in the online game Overwatch, seen as after a preliminary analysis, not a lot of studies were made about this theme. It is common to observe that online games show stereotypical representations of women and LGBTQ+, that is because the game industry's target audience is straight men, a group that in past was consolidated as its biggest consumer. Women characters, most of the time are represented in two ways, they are either the princess that needs to be saved or an unbeatable assassin. But the LGBTQ+ characters, not only are represented in a stereotypical way, they are normally portrayed as NPC's (non-playable characters). However, this is changing, women have begun to conquer more and more space in the gaming world, together with the LGBTQ+ community, not only as players but also as content creators on platforms like YouTube, streaming services, blogs, and other forms of social media. Games are more than just something that people do for fun and entertainment, the notion of games should be increased for a constitution of cultural experience, seen that they have linguistic elements, so, it also serves as a form of multimedia communication, similar to TV, radio, journals and the internet. Therefore, it can be said that the same way that the internet and TV have an influence on people in some aspects of life, be it in a positive or negative way, games have the same effects. So, there's a need for a bigger representation of minority groups on character developments, so that this group which represents more than half of the gaming consumers, feels included. In this sense, this proposition objective is to analyze the perception of users from the game Overwatch, about gender representation that is shown in characters from the game, and the possible effects that their characteristics have on the players. To achieve this, the creation of an online questionnaire would be made, and sent to 100 players, of a different range of age and gender, collecting information about their perception of the game.

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