Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) (MALAYSIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Page: 913 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Many challenges remain in designing a more gender inclusive game, despite an increase in gender and game’s research. By incorporating theories in games and gender, this paper demonstrates the process of how to support gender-inclusivity in games. Most previous research in gender and games only focuses on finding out how each gender plays, what their preferences are in games and highlighting their differences.

Ibrahim et al (2010) summarises the current issues in games and gender research into the following six categories:
(1) how different gender competes and their style of conflict resolution;
(2) how each gender responds to stimulation;
(3) how each gender views rewards in games;
(4) which genre and game content each gender prefers;
(5) what kind of play environment each gender prefers; and
(6) what kind of design features each gender prefers.

However, there is little evidence that researchers have approached the issue of gender inclusivity in games with the intent of building a cohesive understanding of gender inclusivity in games and the relationships that exist between the different dimensions and components. Consequently, the aim is to develop an integrative conceptual framework that can support gender-inclusivity in games.

The development of the Gender Inclusivity Framework (GIF) aims to understand the makeup of gender-inclusivity in games, how to define gender-inclusivity in games and measure the level of gender-inclusiveness in games. Analysis of existing research findings in games and gender produced two unique lists, with a total of eight themes and thirty-two components, relevant to gender-inclusivity in games. Further classification and synthesisation demonstrate that the proposed framework can be determined by three dimensions and twelve components.

GIF suggests that gender inclusivity in games can be determined by three dimensions:
(1) gameplay, which describes the game behaviour and includes non-violent action (NVA), game support (GS), forgiving gameplay (FG), non-violent challenge (NVC), feedback system (FS), variety of activities (ACT), personalization (PER) and collaboration (COLL);
(2) content, that relates to the aesthetics elements of a game and consists of character/avatar portrayal (AVP), game world graphics (GW), sound/music (SM) and storyline (STOR) and;
(3) genre, which categorizes games into twelve broad genres: racing, simulation, classic/board, strategy, sports, shooting, role-playing game, platform, children, puzzle/quiz, action and adventure.

Each dimension in the framework is divided into individual components that can be modified or further investigated in future studies. Each component in combination describes the dimension in terms that can be measured and evaluated in empirical studies. Hence, the combination of dimensions and components used to construct the framework provide the description of gender-inclusivity in games, which in turn is expected to predict the degree of gender-inclusiveness in games.

On-going research is being planned for experiments to validate the framework through expert evaluation, game experiment and game design projects.
Gender inclusivity, gender inclusive, game design, game model, gender neutral, game framework, design guidelines.