A university of Southern California researcher has published the results of what has to be the first ever census of videogame characters.
Dmitri Williams and colleagues other universities conducted their research in 2006, though the results were just made available, according to a New Scientist article.
The researchers gathered the top 150 games sold across nine platforms and had gamers play each title for 30 minutes while researchers made a detailed demographic study of each character that appeared on the screen. Character stats were given additional weight based on the sales total of the game they appeared in. Resulting demographics were then matched up with U.S. census data from 2000.
The data showed that white videogame characters were over-represented in games by 7.0% and Asians by 25.0 percent, while African-Americans were under-represented by 13.0 percent and Hispanic/Latinos by 78.0 percent. Females, children and the elderly were also under-represented versus actual census results.
Games produced in Asia could account for some of that group's over-representation Williams theorized.
He also noted that the games industry may have trouble attracting customers from under-represented segments. Williams added:
For developers this would be a missed opportunity. For players it is a potential source of identity-based problems."
GP: Duplicate story, sorry. Thanks eagle-eyed GP readers.