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Research: Less Girl Game Time Down To Multitasking Behavior With Tech
Research: Less Girl Game Time Down To Multitasking Behavior With Tech
January 26, 2011 | By Leigh Alexander

January 26, 2011 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC

The gender divide in games' audiences is a popular topic, as designers struggle to address the reasons women seem to play completely different kinds of games than men -- at least, if the numerous surveys fronted by casual gaming firms are to be believed.

Much debate even surrounds the question of whether men and women have "different brains" or some kind of inherently different taste that helps explain some of the consumer culture differences that appear between the sexes.

A research firm called PlayScience has decided to have a look into the issue, looking at the gender divide in kids aged 6 to 14. The group studied 417 of these youngsters using an online survey that asked them about how they use technology and what they want from it.

The study found that boys tend to pick video games as their foremost digital activity. Girls, on the other hand, appear more interested in an array of social uses for technology, the firm says.

"Girls tend to be either multitasking or moving quickly between different activities during a single sitting -- chatting, playing a game, downloading music, and sharing pictures all within a short time frame," says PlayScience president Dr. J. Alison Bryant.

"Boys, however, tend to prioritize gaming above other activities," she adds.

The firm's research says that boys are nearly as socially oriented as girls, and that girls are as likely to play video games on many platforms -- the difference is the amount of time spent and the usage behavior. Girls are much more likely to distribute their time in short bursts across numerous activities, while boys spend more time playing, says PlayScience.

"We think that this disconnect speaks to the continued gap in the potential of console platforms, games, and applications in reaching girls," Bryant says. She says firm's primary interest in approaching this kind of research is to help discover methods of "applications and outreach that speak more to these social, multitasking tendencies in girls."

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Alison Bryant
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If people want to read the full report, they can access it here:

Thanks for great article!

Jeff Roth
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This report may or may not be the holy grail of boy/girl gaming habits, but it seams very reasonable that what consoles lack are not quantity or quality of casual games, but rather smother interfaces for multitasking while gaming. Even if this article wasn't 100% accurate, multitasking on consoles still has a long ways to go.

Roberto Dillon
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Does a higher degree of multitasking imply a shorter attention span?

August Junkala
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Doubtful, you must still some attention (even if it is minimal) to all the tasks at hand, even if they are not your current, primary task.

Darcy Nelson
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Maybe we'd put a higher priority on gaming if the industry would market games towards women and girls that aren't also incredibly insulting in premise.

Jeanette Schofield
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I'm 23 and multitask all the time (the other night I had my laptop and my DS open while texting and watching TV). While I've multitasked ever since I can remember, I almost always do it as a way to distract myself (i.e. I multitask because texting/FBing/watching TV are more interesting than doing my math homework). When I find something interesting enough, I can focus solely on it for hours.

I think the next question to ask would be do girls multitask because whatever they're looking at isn't interesting enough to merit their full attention, or is it for some other reason?

E Whiting
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I agree with Jeffrey Parsons. Lets stop with the social engineering and keep to making good and fun games.