2014-2015 Video Game Character Census

James Klock and Caleb Sams


The number of people who play video games has been increasing steadily in the past few years. In 2014, for example, 59% of US citizens were found to play video games (ESA, 2014). In 2009 Williams, Martins, Consalvo, and Ivory conducted a study on racial diversity in video games and found that the population of video games vastly underrepresented the american population. This follow-up study was designed to see if any progress has been made in racial diversity in video games since 2009. The award winning games in The Game Awards 2014 and 2015 were examined for their portrayal of characters and diversity of races as well as how the races are represented within their context (2014). White females increased in the video game population by 5% from the 2009 study but were still vastly under represented. There was a lack of Hispanic/Latino representation only 0.46% in both primary characters and all characters. Racial diversity was found to be statistically different from the 2009 study and the U.S. census. Although race as a whole improved since the 2009 study, it did not match the 2010 U.S. census. Primary player representation also differed significantly from the U.S. census. Hispanic/Latino characters were the least accurately represented race, although this might be due to limitations.