In this study, a large-scale content analysis of characters in video games was employed to answer questions about their representations of gender, race and age in comparison to the US population. The study was conducted in a manner in which the results were able to be analyzed in proportion to the games that were actually played by the public, and thus allowed the first statements able to be generalized about the content of popular video games. The results show a systematic over-representation of males, white and adults and a systematic under-representation of females, Hispanics, Native Americans, children and the elderly. Overall, the results are similar to those found in television research. The implications for identity, cognitive models, cultivation and game research are discussed.
Williams, D., Martins, N., Consalvo, M., & Ivory, J. D. (2009). The virtual census: representations of gender, race and age in video games. New Media and Society, 11(5), 815-834. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1461444809105354.