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Feature: 'Addiction And The MMO'

Is addiction a major factor in massively multiplayer online games? Is it caused by team play? By socialization? Perhaps it's the so-called "grinding" towards an end goal?...
Is addiction a major factor in massively multiplayer online games? Is it caused by team play? By socialization? Perhaps it's the so-called "grinding" towards an end goal? Today's Gamasutra feature explores this by polling real MMO players, with fascinating results. In the introduction, author Neils Clark explains the results of his detailed study: "I recently completed a study at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa finding that gamers’ activities and preferences within games could be linked to addiction. The study looked at players within massively multiplayer online games, for instance Blizzard’s World of Warcraft or Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XI. The study, which examined in-game behaviors on a number of levels, found that playing with real life friends, side activities like exploration or taking pictures, and membership to social guilds may be related to less harmful play. On the other hand, stealing from or otherwise manipulating players, along with membership to more goal-oriented “hardcore” raid guilds may be related to addiction. Player versus player activity was related to both less damaging and addictive behaviors on different levels of data analysis. While these relationships are present, it is not known whether games are actually the cause of this behavior, or if these are simply behaviors that already addicted players seek out." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the survey, including lots more detail on the possibilities of addiction with MMO titles (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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