Gender in Gaming

By now, you may have read about the following news snippet:

Shanda (Nasdaq: SNDA) subsidiary Aurora Technology has frozen game accounts of male players who chose to play female in-game characters in its in-house developed MMORPG King of the World, reports 17173. Aurora stipulates that only female gamers can play female characters in the game, and it requires gamers who chose female characters to prove their biological sex with a webcam, according to the report.

Most of the news revolves around decrying the company for trying something like this, or as expected from the crass Kotaku commenters the CEO of the company must have had an encounter he isn’t proud of…

But let’s take this off in another direction. The game is claiming to be an MMORPG, the key being RP. Role Playing. The problem, as I see it, is that most (and I’d feel safe saying at least 70%, or in the case of World of Warcraft 99.9%) players of these games do not role play beyond the simple fact that their avatar is not a picture of themselves. Would people be as upset if the company had announced that they will be banning players who announce their true gender, breaking the role play?

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