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Women’s Experiences in eSports: Gendered Differences in Peer and Spectator Feedback During Competitive Video Game Play

Despite the growing popularity of eSports, the poor representation of women players points to a need to understand the experiences of female players during competitive gaming online. The present study focuses on female gamers’ experiences with positive and negative feedback and sexual harassment in the male-dominated space of eSports. In Study 1, gender differences were analyzed in online gamers’ experience with feedback from other players and spectators during online play. In Study 2, gender differences were analyzed in observations of real gameplay that focused on the types of comments spectators directed toward female and male gamers on Twitch (a popular video game streaming website). The findings suggest a mixed experience for women that includes more sexual harassment in online gaming compared with men.