Occam’s Razor and Avatar Sex Selection in Everquest

Nathan Cochrane has a post today summarizing and selectively quoting a study of the costs of avatars on Everquest by economist Edward Castronova.

Castronova finds that female avatars experience about a 20 percent discount compared to male avatars offered for sale on auction sites. Bilskirnir selectively quotes Castronova as saying that this might be a case of sexism from the real world making its way into the online world.

But Cochrane leaves out the obvious, simplest explanation that Castronova does, to his credit mention,

Alternatively, it may simply be the case that the EverQuest player base, which is primarily single, male, and aged 18-29, prefers to have a male external appearance rather than a female external appearance.

According to Castronova, the player base for Everquest is almost 93 percent male. It isn’t exactly shocking that in a MMORPG with is almost entirely male that there is more demand for male avatars than for female avatars.

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