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Skins for Sale: Linking Player Identity, Representation, and Purchasing Practices

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11420)

Abstract

Although understudied, microtransactions are becoming widespread in games, especially for the purchase of aesthetic variation in-game. In this paper, we review literature around representation in games and purchasing practices tied to player racial identity to provide insight on how in-game racial representational options and microtransactions may impact purchasing practices of players of diverse racial backgrounds. We selected articles which articulate racial identity, representation in games, and purchasing practices in ways that could be applied to the in-game purchases of non-white character representation in the form of “skins.” The diversity of both players and game characters is steadily increasing in the US. Several of the sources we review here examine this theme and how it is felt by players of color. In this review we thread together research that has focused on the state and effect of representation in games, with research considering the role of racial identity in consumer practice to better examine how players of color feel about purchasing self-representation in games.

Keywords

Microtransactions Representation in games Diversity in gaming 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Kayla Booth, Mike Depew, iSchool Inclusion Institute, and more!

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Penn State UniversityState CollegeUSA
  3. 3.College of WestchesterWhite PlainsUSA
  4. 4.University of California IrvineIrvineUSA
  5. 5.DenverUSA
  6. 6.San GabrielUSA

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