As gaming costs increased and sales decreased, the gender balance in gaming shifted towards more women than in previous years. This change had been heralded for some time but was finally felt in 2012, when female game developers, critics, and even politicians created an Internet backlash. That backlash raised media awareness of the conflict, which in turn caused a rally of support. Fortunately the controversy prompted important discussions that will hopefully pave the way for more gender-balanced gaming alternatives in 2013.
- The gender culture wars escalates: Jennifer Hepler, a game designer at Bioware, becomes a scapegoat for Mass Effect’s relationships. The fact that she is a female gamer becomes a major bone of contention, perhaps in part because the video game slump is indicative of a shift in consumer buying habits away from male gamers.
- Online gaming outperforms online dating: Despite the conflict between the genders, it wasn’t all bad – online gaming proved to be a better matchmaker than online dating sites.
- Video games and porn accused of causing men to “flame out”: Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan believe that the two vices causes young men to flame out academically, wipe out socially with girls, and fail sexually with women.
- Anita Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter causes a blacklash and a counter backlash: Sarkeesian’s study of gender stereotypes in video gaming ignites a media firestorm when the Internet attacks her…and then rallies to her defense.
- Sarkeesian virtually punched in the face: Pursuing a kind of misogynistic self-fulfilling prophecy, a critic of Sarkeesian creates a video game that physically abuses her.
- Gamers Against Bigotry hacked: Predictably, it’s hacked by bigots.
- Democratic candidate attacked for being a gamer…: Democratic Senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz’s propensity for playing World of Warcraft is attacked by Republicans.
- Only to win in a landslide thanks to the media coverage: Lachowicz beat Republican incumbent Thomas H. Martin Jr. by 913 in the race for Senate District 25.
- The good and bad effects of gaming on marriage: A new Brigham Young University study published in the Journal of Leisure Research demonstrates how gaming can affect marital relations.
- Sarkeesian compares hate campaign to boss fight: Undeterred by her critics, Sarkeesian uses TEDx to draw parallels between the coordinated online campaign against her and how gamers organize against a common enemy.
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