Is the games industry racist, sexist and ageist?

The world's first census of videogame characters proves that the games industry is unrealistically skewed towards representations of young, white males at the expense of woman, ethnic minorities, the elderly and children.

The world's first "virtual census" census has been carried out by researcher Dmitri Williams at the University of Southern California in association with researchers at Indiana University, Ohio University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Williams told New Scientist that it was the first research of its type on gaming characters and was based on the top 150 games sold on nine gaming platforms – the Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation, PS2, Nintendo GameCube, PSP, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS and the PC.

The researchers watched 'seasoned gamers' playing each game for a period of half an hour and recorded the demographic profile of each character appearing on the screen, weighing the results accordingly based on the games' overall sales.

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