Girls have less leisure time to play digital games than boys, according to a Michigan State University study, the findings of which could shed light on the technology gender gap. The study of 276 undergraduates found that female students spent about 16 hours more per week doing homework, working, or performing other activities than male undergraduates. The findings suggest that girls play video games less because they have more obligatory tasks that take up their free time. Another reason girls don’t play video games is a lack of interest. Eighty-eight percent of game developers are men, who haven’t been able to create games of interest to girls or women, according to one of the study’s co-authors, who suggests that learning games may appeal to girls’ tendency to multitask; they can spend both leisure and work time playing and learning. However, the researcher warns that learning games in subjects “strongly preferred by males” could have the opposite effect. The researchers say that developers might want to minimize in-game performance pressure to appeal to women. Games should also take less time and provide real world benefits like stress relief, brain exercise, or more quality time with others.
I haven’t been a game fanatic since Super Nintendo and “Street Fighter Turbo” were popular. But last week, I was playing Xbox LIVE at a friend’s and found “1 vs 100 Live,” a trivia game, to be the perfect way to wind down before getting ready for bed. I only needed an hour of play and didn’t feel humiliated when I wasn’t the top scorer. The games that I would find interesting seem to be in line with the researchers’ suggestions, but I wonder how real female gamers feel. What attracts you to a video game? And do you agree with the study?