Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Avid Online Role-players Do Not Fit Gamer Stereotypes

Date:
September 26, 2008
Source:
University of Southern California
Summary:
Players of online role-playing games tend to be older and fitter than suggested by popular stereotypes, survey finds. Older players also log more playing time, and women tend to be more committed to the game.

Participants in the role-playing game EverQuest II defy the stereotype of the overweight male teenager, researchers have reported.

The average age of the 7,000 players surveyed was 31, said first author Dmitri Williams, assistant professor in the USC Annenberg School for Communication.

"We found that older players were more typical," Williams said. There were more players in their 30s than in their 20s, and playing time tended to increase with age.

In addition, while women made up only 20 percent of players, they logged more time in the game than their male counterparts.

"The hardcore players are the women," Williams said. "They play more hours, they're less likely to quit."

Players also stated that they exercise vigorously once or twice a week – more than most people – and their reported height and weight showed that they are slightly overweight, but still 10 percent leaner than the average American.

Even assuming a modest amount of under-reporting, the survey suggests that serious gamers resemble the general population in overall fitness.

The fitness data point to an intriguing difference between television and online game experiences.

The researchers cited studies showing that time spent watching television is related to poor health outcomes and fewer servings of fruits and vegetables. But EverQuest II players do not appear to fit this profile.

On the popular virtual worlds blog Terra Nova, a comment about the EverQuest II survey blamed commercials for television viewers' poor health habits.

The results conformed to stereotypes in some respects. Data provided by Sony Online Entertainment, which runs the game, showed that players spent a large amount of time in-game: 26 hours per week on average.

Survey respondents were roughly 50 percent more likely to have had a depression diagnosis than the population at large. The rate of substance addiction was about 20 percent higher than normal.

On the other hand, players reported slightly lower levels of anxiety than the general population.

The researchers warned against inferring that online gaming compromises mental health. It may be that individuals with mental health issues play the game as a form of self-medication, or that individuals with these issues are simply more attracted to the game, they said. The lower anxiety may reflect players' efforts to regulate their moods through play.

Williams' co-authors were Nick Yee of the Palo Alto Research Center and Scott Caplan of the University of Delaware.

In a first for online game research, Sony Entertainment Corporation agreed to let the researchers access game data.

Players were recruited over two days with the offer of a "Greatstaff of the Sun Serpent," a keepsake created specifically for the survey, in exchange for participation. Everyone who logged in during the recruitment period was offered the same prize.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southern California. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Williams et al. Who plays, how much, and why? Debunking the stereotypical gamer profile. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 2008; 13 (4): 993 DOI: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.2008.00428.x

Cite This Page:

University of Southern California. "Avid Online Role-players Do Not Fit Gamer Stereotypes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080924151015.htm>.
University of Southern California. (2008, September 26). Avid Online Role-players Do Not Fit Gamer Stereotypes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080924151015.htm
University of Southern California. "Avid Online Role-players Do Not Fit Gamer Stereotypes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080924151015.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nintendo Changed Gaming World, but Its Future Uncertain: Upstone

Nintendo Changed Gaming World, but Its Future Uncertain: Upstone

AFP (Apr. 19, 2014) The Nintendo Game Boy celebrates its 25th anniversary Monday and game expert Stephen Upstone says the console can be credited with creating a trend towards handheld gaming devices. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nearly Two Weeks On, The Internet Copes With Heartbleed

Nearly Two Weeks On, The Internet Copes With Heartbleed

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) The Internet is taking important steps in patching the vulnerabilities Heartbleed highlighted, but those preventive measures carry their own costs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook To Share Nearby Friends Data With Advertisers

Facebook To Share Nearby Friends Data With Advertisers

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) A Facebook spokesperson has confirmed the company will use GPS data from the new Nearby Friends feature for advertising sometime in the future. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins