Welcome to MMO couples

Every one who is familiar with MMOG's (massive multiplayer online games), knows the stories of people who are so addicted to playing these games that it costs them their real life friendships and relationships. There are also stories though of people who meet in a MMOG and fall in love, like my boyfriend and I. 'MMO couples' is a tribute to our lovestory, but also an invitation to share your story and experiences with others.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Research: MMO Demographics and Psychology

I would like to point out that there is quite some research material available about the demographic, social and psychological aspects in the world of MMOG's. Interesting reads are "The Demographics, Motivations and Derived Experiences of Users of Massively Multi-User Online Graphical Environments", and "The Psychology of MMORPGs: Emotional Investment, Motivations, Relationship Formation, and Problematic Usage", both written by Nicholas Yee (Department of Communication, Stanford University, http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/). These articles, that you can download from his webpage, date from 2006, and are based on serveying over 30,000 MMOG players.

A few days ago, I received an email from a woman who also met her husband in a MMOG. She wrote: 'What I would be interested in to find out, is if there is any trend with age difference. Most of the couples who I know have a long term romance that started in a video game, are older women and younger men. For myself, I am 6-7 years older than my husband.'

My partner and I also have an age difference of about 3-4 years, me being the older one. So far I have not been able to find any research numbers concerning this topic. In the first article that I have mentioned above though, you can find a statistic on page 17 where the age range of men an women who play MMOG's is shown. Starting at the age of 23, there are significantly more female players compaired to male players in that same age range. Just looking at these numbers, one could suggest that because there are more younger male players in MMOG's, the chances are high that an older female player gets romantically involved with a younger male player.

Apart from the fact that guys consider it cool that girls/women play MMOG's, I also believe that younger male players might be more attracted to older female players. In the three years that I have been playing World of Warcraft, I have chatted with lots of younger guys (late teenagers and guys who are in their early twenties) who very easily opened up to me about personal issues. This could be explained because of my background as a social worker :), but I also believe it is easier to talk about private issues with people/women who may have a bit more life experience. Subsequently, the communication becomes more intimate, increasing the chance that one's curiosity is triggered and an online friendship or relationship starts to develop. For us 'older' women, a younger guy is of course very attractive due to his stats: more stamina, more strength. I am sorry; I could not resist :P

Other numbers that have caught my interest, have to do with the valuing of online friendships and the percentage of players who actually dated another player in the real world:

- 39.4% of male players and 53.3% of female players value there MMOG friends comparable or even better than their real life friends.

- 15.7% of male players and 5% of female players had physically dated someone they had met in an MMOG.

I am very curious if those numbers have increased in the last two years, and how many MMO crushes have resulted into succesful, long lasting relationships. What would also be interesting, is to investigate in which MMOG's most romances occur. I therefore hope, researchers will keep up the good work and continue putting effort into investigating intersocial relations and behaviour in MMOG's.


Anonymous said...

Most women I know online are older than me, but my friend knows no less than 6 twelve-year-old girls (he's 14, not a pedofile :p)

R. said...

My boyfriend and I met playing world of warcraft and Like you and the lady you mentioned, I too am older than him by 5 years (he's 20, I'm 25). We're very happy though, and as luck would have it we live 10 minutes from eachother and have long before we became interested in eachother.

I agree that research studying this trend would be interested to read :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'd say it's true to a large extent. I'm 34 my partner is almost 20 and we have been together for almost 4 years ( we didn't meet and/or consumate untill he was 18). I have no shame in telling people that we met on WoW, now telling our parents was a little harder!

Anonymous said...

I have married friends who are 24 and 20 (female 24 male 20) and also friends who are 52 and 33 (52 female and 33 male)
But my sweetie and myself are other way around. I'm 19 and he's 23.

Gündem said...

do you know any article about mmo demographics? with charts...

Gabi said...

Dear Gündem, I only know the work that Nick Yee has done:


My research is based on my own questionnaire and has, of course, more to do with online relationships.