[Star Wars: The Old Republic fans on BioWare’s fan forums] argued over whether an online game is an appropriate venue to discuss the sexual politics and the problem of heteronormativity in virtual worlds. What was often framed by the participants as a benevolent desire to prevent political and ideological conflict from leaking into gaming and ruining its unique attractions manifested as the maintenance of a heterocentric power structure. True gamers and fans are assumed to be straight (or, if they are queer, it is assumed that they will remain in the closet while participating in the gaming forum), and out queer gamers and their allies are flagged as disruptive and harmful interlopers. This stance implies that BioWare would be doing its real fans (the ones they rely on to sustain their profit margins) a disservice were it to cater to the desires of queer players by making the forum community queer friendly. A similar debate arose 2 years later when BioWare made the decision to include gay male romance options in their popular single player role-playing game franchise, Dragon Age.

 Condis, Megan. 2015. “No Homosexuals in Star Wars? BioWare, ‘gamer’ Identity, and the Politics of Privilege in a Convergence Culture.” Convergence 21 (2): 198–212.

This paper is a great in-depth exploration of how different groups of fans react to explicitly queer characters in games, and especially about how they construct their discourse. Interested as I am in online infrastructure, I also love Condis’ focus on the role that fan forums play here.

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