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Culture war games: the PETA principle

The NPD Group Reports 34 Million Core Gamers Spend an Average of 22 Hours per Week Playing Video Games
By The NPD Group

There are 34 million core gamers in the U.S. spending an average of 22 hours per week playing video games, according to Core Gaming 2014, the latest report from global information company, The NPD Group.

“Core gamers are really the lifeblood of the industry, spending tremendous amounts of time on their hobby of choice,” said Liam Callahan, Industry Analyst.

Core Gamers are Expected to Drive Record Growth for PC Games
By Open Gaming Alliance

This report, prepared for the OGA by market research firm DFC Intelligence, covers the 2014 year end and forecasts all major aspects of the PC gaming industry worldwide through 2018. Based on preliminary estimates, the market is expected to grow from $26 billion in 2014 to $35 billion by 2018. This represents a slightly more bullish forecast than last year.

“Much of the growth is driven by pure demographics. We continue to identify a core group of consumers for whom playing on the PC is a major pastime,” said DFC analyst David Cole. “This is, in fact, a fairly new demographic that skews highly male and is only increasing in buying power.”

The NPD Group: 37 Percent Of U.S. Population Age 9 and Older Currently Plays PC Games
By The NPD Group

The largest segment is Casual at 56 percent, with Light Core at 24 percent, and Heavy Core at 20 percent. Though Heavy Core is the smallest segment, they spend a significantly higher number of hours gaming in an average week, and have spent roughly twice as much money in the past 3 months on physical or digital games for the computer than Casual PC gamers.

PC gamers are just as likely to be men as they are women, with 51 percent and 49 percent, respectively. They tend to be older, with an average age of 38 years, and affluent, with an average household income of $69k. Gender differences become apparent by type of gamer: Heavy Core and Light Core are comprised mainly of men while Casual PC gamers are overwhelmingly female.

EVE Online: 96% of players are male, CCP fine with that
By Dave Cook

Speaking with Massively, CCP’s David Reid confirmed the stat, while EVE Online’s senior producer Andie Nordgren suggested that the male dominance is natural. “Part of it is due to the theme of the game,” she suggested. “Science fiction is an extremely male-dominated domain.

“It’s not a goal for us as a development team to specifically increase the number of female players” she said, and added that it’s more, “an indicator than something [to] strive for.”

League of Legends’ Growth Spells Bad News for Teemo
By Riot Gates

Over 90% of players are male

Brand Map: Assassin’s Creed
By Dominic Sacco

81 per cent of gamers playing Creed are males (those aged 15 to 19 years old account for 22 per cent of all players) and, despite the age restrictions, 17 per cent of players are aged 10 to 14.

Mass Effect 3 by the numbers: 4 percent of players like shooting
By Omri Petitte

Players clocked in 88.3 million hours worldwide on the single-player campaign, and although FemShep quickly became a fan favorite thanks to voice actress Jennifer Hale’s excellent delivery, over 80 percent of players chose ManShep.

Call of Duty Ghosts shakes up venerable video game
By Peter Nowak

About a fifth of Call of Duty’s 40 million monthly players are female and that percentage is rising, according to Activision, which is why playable female characters are being added for the first time in Ghosts.

Brand Map: Mario Kart
By Dominic Sacco

We see a very even split between males and females playing the game – 56 per cent of players are male, 44 per cent are female. Indeed, a higher proportion of females of all ages are playing Mario Kart than they are the average game.

Brand Map: 51% of Professor Layton players are female
By Dominic Sacco

Over half of Professor Layton gamers are female – a much higher profile than seen for the average game.

Brand Map: Just Dance
by Dominic Sacco

The game also has more females playing than males (53 per cent are female).

Satoru Iwata On Animal Crossing Sales, 56% Of Players Are Female
By Sato

“What I find interesting is that the 3DS core users consist of 69% male and 31% female, but when I look at the numbers of people that bought Animal Crossing: New Leaf and the 3DS handheld together recently, I see 44% male and 56% female users. It’s quite an astonishing figure.”

Video Games: Males Prefer Violence while Females Prefer Social
By M. H. Phan, J. R. Jardina and W. S. Hoyle

In sum, male gamers reported that they tend to play games from the Strategy, Role Playing, Action, and Fighting genres more often than female gamers. Conversely, female gamers reported that they play games from the Social, Puzzle/Card, Music/Dance, Educational/Edutainment, and Simulation genres more frequently than male gamers. The three game genres that both male and female players reported to play approximately with equal frequency were Sports, Driving, and Adventure.

Women and Video Games
By Adrian Chmielarz

… a) there are genres that women tend to like simply because the genres as such appeal to them, b) there are genres that do not achieve that, and c) there are genres that the games of which women like or not depending on the actual features of the game.

This is nothing new. There are things in this world that men and women like equally, and there are things that women like more than men and vice versa. For example, in the world of books, most readers of fiction are women. However, more men read sci-fi fiction than women.

Note that in games, the process in which men gravitated towards certain types of games, and women went after something else, was organic. There were no quotas, no ideology behind it. It just happened because that is how the market works.

“Galbrush”
By Merlynn132

Do you know why there’s so many white male characters in video games? Especially leads? Because no one cares about them. A white male can be a lecherous drunk. A woman can’t or it’s sexist. Sexualizing women and what all. A white male can be a mentally disturbed soldier who’s mind is unraveling as he walks though the hell of the modern battlefield. A woman can’t or you’re victimizing women and saying they’re all crazy.

Men can be comically inept halfwits, women can’t. Men can be tragically flawed human beings, women can’t. And why? Because every single female character reflects all women everywhere.

Comics Like Batgirl Shouldn’t Require a ‘Good Feminist’ Seal of Approval
By Cathy Young

The worst message to send creators is that if your female character doesn’t get a Good Feminist seal of approval — if she shows too much weakness or too much sexuality, if she has too many stereotypical female qualities or too many “male” ones, if she suffers a failure or a harrowing ordeal, if she is shown in an overly disturbing situation — your work may be attacked as anti-woman. That’s a prescription for bland characters and dull stories.

Feminist critics make a strong case when they assert that there are still not enough female protagonists or major characters in popular culture and not enough good female-driven stories. The answer is to spend less energy on policing and more on creating. More women, fewer litmus tests.

Everything You Know About Boys and Video Games Is Wrong
By Rosalind Wiseman

This all matters because gaming has become an important part of our culture, and it’s sending the wrong message onto our boys’ and girls’ sceens. Our kids deserve better. And it’s what they want.

The games industry is wrong about kids, gaming and gender (update)
By Charlie Hall

The results of a new study, revealed yesterday at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, show that today’s young consumers are far more progressive than the games industry gives them credit for.

To ignore this study, say its authors, will inevitably lead the games industry astray. They conclude that by ignoring young people’s appetite for strong, dignified, self-possessed female protagonists, game developers will not merely alienate a growing audience, they will leave money on the table.

Response to TIME Article
By Rosalind Wiseman

We have never claimed that this is a rigorous academic survey, nor that it should be treated as such.

The Trouble With Scientists
By Philip Ball

It’s likely that some researchers are consciously cherry-picking data to get their work published. And some of the problems surely lie with journal publication policies. But the problems of false findings often begin with researchers unwittingly fooling themselves: they fall prey to cognitive biases, common modes of thinking that lure us toward wrong but convenient or attractive conclusions. “Seeing the reproducibility rates in psychology and other empirical science, we can safely say that something is not working out the way it should,” says Susann Fiedler, a behavioral economist at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn, Germany. “Cognitive biases might be one reason for that.”

Psychologist Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia says that the most common and problematic bias in science is “motivated reasoning”: We interpret observations to fit a particular idea. Psychologists have shown that “most of our reasoning is in fact rationalization,” he says. In other words, we have already made the decision about what to do or to think, and our “explanation” of our reasoning is really a justification for doing what we wanted to do—or to believe—anyway.

Radical Reform Required at APA
By Chris Ferguson

During 2013 meetings held at the Institutes of Medicine in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, I witnessed firsthand how hungry the APA was to capitalize on the tragic violence (in fairness, they certainly weren’t the only ones).

But it’s difficult argue for relevance when a field is messy, conflicted, and increasingly undergoing a replication crisis. But given the lack of transparency in its development and progress, failure to connect with a large body of scholars and perceived biases, the current video game task force should be disbanded and the APA’s policy statements on both video games and media more generally retired.

These issues on APA policy aren’t remotely limited to media effects, but likely touch a wide range of the APA’s policy actions in which cynical politics were masked in the language of science and human advocacy.

The Toxoplasma Of Rage
By Scott Alexander

PETA creates publicity, but at a cost. Everybody’s talking about PETA, which is sort of like everybody talking about ethical treatment of animals, which is sort of a victory. But most of the talk is “I hate them and they make me really angry.” Some of the talk is even “I am going to eat a lot more animals just to make PETA mad.”

So there’s a tradeoff here, with Vegan Outreach on one side and PETA on the other.

Vegan Outreach can get everyone to agree in principle that factory-farming is bad, but no one will pay any attention to it.

And PETA can get everyone to pay attention to factory farming, but a lot of people who would otherwise oppose it will switch to supporting it just because they’re so mad at the way it’s being publicized.

But at least they’re paying attention!

PETA doesn’t shoot themselves in the foot because they’re stupid. They shoot themselves in the foot because they’re traveling up an incentive gradient that rewards them for doing so, even if it destroys their credibility.

It’s in activists’ interests to destroy their own causes by focusing on the most controversial cases and principles, the ones that muddy the waters and make people oppose them out of spite. And it’s in the media’s interest to help them and egg them on.

People talk about the shift from old print-based journalism to the new world of social media and the sites adapted to serve it. These are fast, responsive, and only just beginning to discover the power of controversy. They are memetic evolution shot into hyperdrive, and the omega point is a well-tuned machine optimized to search the world for the most controversial and counterproductive issues, then make sure no one can talk about anything else. An engine that creates money by burning the few remaining shreds of cooperation, bipartisanship and social trust.

Did Reddit Boss Coverage Cross a Line?
By Margaret Sullivan

I often hear from readers that they would prefer a straight, neutral treatment — just the facts. But The Times has moved away from that, reflecting editors’ reasonable belief that the basics can be found in many news outlets, every minute of the day. They want to bring provide “value-added” coverage.

Often, that works well, but not always.

How a 16-year-old tricked the New York Times into reporting that Dylann Roof blogged about “My Little Pony”
By Casey Tolan

The Times article in question, by Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist Frances Robles, has since been edited to remove those details. According to the website NewsDiffs, which archives old versions of New York Times stories, the interview with Wareing was only online for a couple hours—it was added around 1:56 p.m. Eastern on June 20 and removed by 4:44 p.m. the same day. Wareing posted a screenshot of the unedited Times article in a blog post admitting his ruse.

The fact that the Times was tricked by a kid an ocean away from Charleston is a quirk of modern journalism: As soon as Roof’s name leaked, reporters flocked to the suspect’s Facebook page, which was private except for a profile picture and his list of friends. So reporters (ourselves included) started messaging those friends.

According to email correspondence between Wareing and Robles, which Wareing forwarded to Fusion, the teen never gave Robles a link to the imaginary Tumblr, which he said Roof had deleted, nor any screenshots or other proof that blog ever existed.

The Times apparently decided to publish the Tumblr anecdote anyway. The Wareing section was cited by New York magazine’s Daily Intel blog and reprinted on the website of the Boston Globe, among other newspapers. The Globe has since removed that section from its story, but it currently shows up in Google search archives and Wareing posted another screenshot on his blog.

Trust in Mass Media Returns to All-Time Low
By Justin McCarthy

After registering slightly higher trust last year, Americans’ confidence in the media’s ability to report “the news fully, accurately, and fairly” has returned to its previous all-time low of 40%. Americans’ trust in mass media has generally been edging downward from higher levels in the late 1990s and the early 2000s.

New York Times buyout watch, 2014
By Joe Pompeo and Jeremy Barr

The Times announced on Oct. 1 that it needed to eliminate 100 newsroom positions as a cost-cutting measure. Executives said they hoped to achieve the reduction through voluntary buyouts but that layoffs would be necessary otherwise.

They also said there would be job losses on the business side—about two dozen, as Capital subsequently reported—and that buyouts would be offered to some senior managers in the company’s print, digital and advertising divisions.

This year’s downsizing, the fourth such mass reduction since the paper’s first in 2008, comes while the Times is struggling with growth as it battles ongoing print advertising declines that have not fully been countered by gains in digital advertising and digital circulation.

Washington Post Writer Who Accused Amy Schumer Of Racism Never Saw Her Standup or TV Show
By Debra Kessler

… The Washington Post name carries weight, certainly far more weight than Amy Schumer, who is just beginning to see her career grow. To suggest that Schumer needs to be more responsible with her comedy with one hand, while casually branding a young artist with powerful words like Racism with the other, seems to have its own irresponsibility not only toward Schumer, but toward other young artists trying to decide what they can and cannot talk about. And to tie an artist– particularly an artist who is herself breaking down long standing barriers– in with murder, the Klan and the burning of black churches is something that should not be done lightly. There are serious consequences to such statements.

The Post article cautions against using the “its just a joke” mentality, as do we, because it’s not “just a joke.” Comedy is a socially and culturally important art form. Comedy is an important form of communication that at its highest level is as critical to our social progression as journalism, and while it may be understandable that Dr. Patton and her writing partner might not appreciate that, it’s startling to see that The Washington Post would be as cavalier. Dr. Patton states in her article that “motivation is not the issue. what matters is the cost/consequence of these jokes.” But what is the cost and consequence of accusing someone of racism without context, background, or any real information?

Civil servant commits suicide after Facebook accusations of racism
By Itamar Sharon

An official at Israel’s Population Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA) committed suicide on Saturday after a Facebook post that accused him of racism — a claim which he disputed — became popular and was shared thousands of times.

Shortly before taking his own life, Ariel Ronis wrote in a Facebook post that he had been wronged by the masses, told his side of the story, and urged people to consider the effects of their actions and words on social media.

The incident shone a light on the problematic, sometimes devastating effects of social media “shaming.”

The Pecking Disorder: Social Justice Warriors Gone Wild
By Cathy Young

The practical effects of such “social justice” ideology can be seen in the communities where it flourishes (mainly on college campuses and online). It is a reverse caste system in which a person’s status and worth depends entirely on their perceived oppression and disadvantage. The nuances of rank can be as rigid as in the most oppressively hierarchical traditional society. A white woman upset by an insulting comment from a white man qualifies for sympathy and support; a white woman distraught at being ripped to shreds by a “woman of color” for an apparent racial faux pas can be ridiculed for “white girl tears.” However, if she turns out to be a rape victim, the mockery probably crosses a line. On the other hand, a straight white male trashed by an online mob for some vague offenses deemed misogynist and racist can invite more vitriol by revealing that he is a sexual abuse survivor suffering from post-traumatic stress.

Political Correctness Is Devouring Itself
By Nick Cohen

Go into the modern university and you won’t hear much about Mill or Milton or the millions around the world who have had to learn the hard way why freedom of speech matters. Instead, you will be fed philosophers far less rigorous than Feinberg. The New Zealander Jeremy Waldron, an Oxford professor from the American university system, which churns out authoritarian philosophers the way Ford churns out cars, suggests speech that attacks the dignity of others should be banned. Stanley Fish of New York dispenses with any pretence that we should respect universal human rights, and descends into power-worship and thuggery. “The only way to fight hate speech is to recognise it as the speech of your enemy,” he says. “And what you do in response to the speech of your enemy is not prescribe a medication for it but attempt to stamp it out.” Take a breath and think about his assumptions. This is the tyrannical language of an illiberal intelligentsia so lost in complacency it thinks it no longer needs the rights it once championed. We don’t care if we are being consistent, it says. We have the power to censor now and we will use it.

Few contemporary theorists grasp that people oppose censorship not because they respect the words of the speaker but because they fear the power of the censor. It is astonishing that professed liberals, of all people, could have torn up the old limits, when they couldn’t answer the obvious next question: who decides what is offensive?

Thoughts on political correctness and SJW
By Tom Owolade

Considerations of an art’s inherent qualities are discarded. What matters is who made it and whether it offends. And if it is made by the wrong person, and if it offends, a braying mob, undeterred by the principle that artistic freedom extends to offensive art, will do their best to strike it down. Social justice warriors legitimise censorious activism by politicising every activity. This makes ‘problematic’ art fair for censorship because ideological purity is considered more important than artistic freedom. Whilst ostensibly noble in wanting to empower minorities that are insecure about expressing themselves, this is ultimately counterproductive and unprincipled. Counterproductive by valuing the unprivileged for their identity and not their work, thereby stunting their capacity to improve and develop; and unprincipled because, fundamentally, art is an individual form of expression that has the capacity to transcend the individual rather than be solely defined by it. It is one of its key qualities.

Why College Kids Are Avoiding the Study of Literature
By Gary Saul Morson

We all live in a prison house of self. We naturally see the world from our own perspective and see our own point of view as obvious and, if we are not careful, as the only possible one. I have never heard anyone say: “Yes, you only see things from my point of view. Why don’t you consider your own for a change?” The more our culture presumes its own perspective, the more our academic disciplines presume their own rectitude, and the more professors restrict students to their own way of looking at things, the less students will be able to escape from habitual, self-centered, self-reinforcing judgments. We grow wiser, and we understand ourselves better, if we can put ourselves in the position of those who think differently.

Democracy depends on having a strong sense of the value of diverse opinions. If one imagines (as the Soviets did) that one already has the final truth, and that everyone who disagrees is mad, immoral, or stupid, then why allow opposing opinions to be expressed or permit another party to exist at all? The Soviets insisted they had complete freedom of speech, they just did not allow people to lie. It is a short step, John Stuart Mill argues, from the view that one’s opponents are necessarily guided by evil intentions to the rule of what we have come to call a one-party state or what Putin today calls “managed democracy.” If universities embody the future, then we are about to take that step. Literature, by teaching us to imagine the other’s perspective, teaches the habits of mind that prevent that from happening. That is one reason the Soviets took such enormous efforts to censor it and control its interpretation.

Life during the culture wars
By Russell Blackford

You’ll likely see ongoing outrage, abuse, and demonisation of opponents from all sides of political and cultural debate. Note that the warring sides will not always be Right versus Left in the traditional sense. That has changed in the new culture wars of the twenty-first century: unusual alliances are forming, often cutting across old divisions or exposing deep disagreements within what we think of as the Right or the Left.

Cultural warfare is dividing good people from each other, creating a general environment of hostility where many of us are constantly on hair-triggers (and where many people feel they must self-censor or else be turned on by their own tribes). All of this hurts good people, lowers the quality of debate, distorts our understanding of the problems we confront, and harms the process of democratic deliberation.

What’s less clear is what we can do about it.

The Tim Hunt affair is destroying our community from within. We need to not let that happen.
By Ashutosh Jogalekar

Find middle ground. Constantly seek the places where you agree rather than disagree, and you will find that there are more of those around than you think. Do not banish people even with divergent ideas from sight and mind, because these are really the only ones who can teach you something new; allowing these people to speak their minds is not easy, but the rewards are important. Respect diversity of ideas as much as diversity of identity, and stop automatically pigeonholing people into categories of identity and examining their arguments through these lenses. If you feel offended by something first try to understand it; it’s hard, but it’s worth the trouble. Finally, just stop equating every perceived and real act of dissension, of contrary opinion and thought as disloyalty to some real or fictitious ‘cause’ or ideology, as a less than perfect fit to a conviction. We are more similar than we think, we are more complex than we think, and we are much more than the sum of our identities. And that realization is really the only one that can bring us together at the end of the day.

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