In the last post, I was triggered by the Age news to reflect on some preliminary observations about the mixing of real life and virtual life. This is a topic I am interested in for quite some time.
Here is an article Living a Virtual Life: Social Dynamics of Online Gaming by Castulus Kolo and Timo Baur in Game Studies:
This study revealed an interesting demographic of online game players as least for the German Ultima Online players.
the typical player of Ultima Online is 24 years old; younger than the average German Internet user and, of course, the population average.... However, the percentage of professionals (employed or working full-time on a freelance basis) among the players of Ultima Online amounts to 52 percent.
Compared to the average of all Internet users the share of female players who responded to our questionnaire was extremely low (3 percent). This value is far below results of studies on other MMORPGs like Everquest where a share of 16 percent of female players has been observed.
According to the survey, the time spent on gaming is immense. The average duration of a gaming session amounts to about four hours. However, sessions lasting up to 12 hours were also mentioned (see Table 2). The typical player is online almost daily with an average of 5.7 sessions per week (see Table 3).
With this amount of activity and such a significant portion of games attracted to these games, studying online games should be a serious endeavour.
As noted in the previous post, there was news about players died resulting from exhaustion by playing online games.
There were quite some discussions during LOW2005 conference. When I have a bit more time, I will go through the recordings and make a summary here.