Female gamers are quite used to hearing guys online say the equivalent of, “IT’S-A ME, SEXIST JERK!” But now, they’ve got scientific evidence of what we’ve all long suspected—namely, those men are compensating for something. According to a new study at the Kasumovic Lab, males who are verbally hostile to women while playing games are also much more likely to suck at the game. It’s a quantitative demonstration of something obvious, or at least obvious to everyone except for the guys guilty of this behavior.
Based on a representative sampling of 163 games of Halo 3 played last year, researchers show the worse a male player was, the more likely he was to verbally abuse a female teammate, with the likelihood increasing if she was also someone to whom they were losing. (Almost as if they hated the thought of a woman succeeding in an area they viewed as their own.) Even when the team prevented data skewing by controlling for the routine shit-talkers, the results were the same.
Now, this study doesn’t include demographic data like age or background, and one could argue that people playing Halo 3 don’t exactly make for an accurate sampling of all video game players. But it certainly does make for a relatively accurate sample of dudes who play games like Halo 3. So the next time you hear a male player treating a female player worse than her male counterparts, take comfort in the knowledge that it’s probably because that guy sucks, and not just in life.