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MMORPGs: Living With It or Living In It? last updated September 2005 You're in Our World Now Experience the greatest saga ever told – yours Become a Hero,

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Presentation on theme: "MMORPGs: Living With It or Living In It? last updated September 2005 You're in Our World Now Experience the greatest saga ever told – yours Become a Hero,"— Presentation transcript:

1 MMORPGs: Living With It or Living In It? last updated September 2005 You're in Our World Now Experience the greatest saga ever told – yours Become a Hero, Raise an Army, Rule an Empire! Where Adventure Comes Alive

2 CHINESE MMORPG KILLER GETS LIFE (June 9, 2005) Man who stabbed his mate in dispute over virtual sword gets suspended death sentence …Qiu Chengwei, a hardcore fan of the Legend of Mir 3 M.MORPG, had lent his friend Zhu Caoyuan his Dragon Sabre, a high level weapon. Zhu sold the sword without consulting Qiu, making a healthy profit of 7200 Yuan (approximately £425). When Qiu found out he broke into Zhu's house and stabbed him with "great force" in the chest, killing him.… ( SOUTH KOREAS GAMING ADDICTS (November 22, 2002) ….An extreme case of internet obsession hit the news headlines last month when 24-year-old Kim Kyung-jae collapsed and died after playing computer games at an internet cafe in the south-western city of Kwangju. He had been playing virtually non-stop for 86 hours.… ( CHINESE SUICIDE SHOWS ADDICTION DANGERS (June 3, 2005) …. Xiao Yi was thirteen when he threw himself from the top of a twenty-four story tower block in his home town, leaving notes that spoke of his addiction and his hope of being reunited with fellow cyber- players in heaven …. Previously, Xiao's parents had found him starving after two days and nights in an internet cafe playing online role-playing games. When questioned about his bizarre behaviour, his father said that a tearful Xiao had told him that he had been poisoned by games and could no longer control himself. ( PARENTS USE GAMING TO EXCUSE NEGLECT (June 22, 2005) An infant dies due to neglect. The parents blame a longer-than-usual online gaming session. ….The infant had been left alone for hours while the parents were out at a Internet café playing the MMORPG World of Warcraft. When the parents returned home, they found their daughter and only child dead, due to suffocation.… "We were thinking of playing for just an hour or two and returning home like usual... but the game took longer that day," the couple told police. (

3 MMO…PTWGYEK… what? Online & on the Internet Company-owned / proprietary server Persistent world (rarely reset) Massive multiplayer (MM) What sets MMOs apart from other games are their social structures and communities. If you just want to kill things and level up a character, you can play Diablo. If you just want to wander in a 3D world, you can play Morrowind. If youre simply interested in fantasy or sci-fi, there are accomplished narratives like the Baldurs Gate series or Knights of the Old Republic. But what those games cant offer is a role in the complex and evolving set of living social structures. In MMOs, youll find guilds, role-playing servers, warring factions, economic classes, crime rings, griefers, political groups, and even entire cities and nations. (GameSpy, Tom Chick, Oct 24, 2003)

4 Still not sure what it is?

5 History 1997: Ultima Online 1998: Lineage 1999: Everquest, Asherons Call Unrestrained Growth; MMORPGs only online game revenues will grow from $277 million to $1.9 billion by 2002 (Forrester Research) The Golden Age (Jan. 1997 – April 2001) The Age of Transition (May 2001 – April 2002) The Age of Competition (May 2002 – Today) 1996: Meridian 59 coined massively multiplayer; Kingdom of the Winds 2001: Dark Ages of Camelot, Anarchy Online, World War II Online Significant Slowing of Growth; New MMORPGs; New MMOG Genres 2002: Final Fantasy XI 2003: PlanetSide, Lineage II, Shadowbane, Star Wars Galaxies 2004: World of Warcraft, Everquest2, City of Hereos 2005: Matrix Online over 150 MMOG products in various stages of development …. the market over the next few years can support 20 games, probably less (DFC)

6 Behind the Keyboard

7 Demographics Average age: 26 (only 25% are teenagers) Gender: 85% are male; ratio of men and women 5:1 –Male players tend to be between 12 and 28, while female players tend to be between 23 and 40. –Men are 3-5 times more likely than women to gender-bend Occupation: 50% are working, 22% are full-time students, 12% are working and/or going to school part- time, 10% are unemployed, 3% are home-makers, while 1% are retired. Marital Status: 36% are married; 67% of men & 43% of women have children –60% of female gamers and 16% of male gamers play with a romantic partner. (Daedalus Project at

8 The Latest Subscription Numbers MMOGMonthly Subscribers Lineage I and II (NCsoft)4 million Ragnorak Online (Gravity Interactive) (*The game became so popular in Thailand… it prompted the government implementing of a temporary curfew on late-night MMOG playing.) supposedly well over 2 million in South Korea alone World of Warcraft (Blizzard)2 million Everquest I and II (Sony)732,000 Final Fantasy XI (Square Enix)550,000 Star Wars Galaxies (Sony)255,000 Dark Ages of Camelot (Mythic)175,000 Ultima Online (EA)157,000 City of Heroes (NCsoft)140,000 Toontime Online (Disney)100,000

9 Breaking News … World of Warcraft subscribers reach 4 million Wildly popular MMORPG hits another milestone; 1 million active accounts in North America alone. (Tor Thorsen, GameSpot, August 29, 2005, See also: Conqueror in a War of Virtual Worlds by SETH SCHIESEL (New York Times, September 6, 2005)Conqueror in a War of Virtual Worlds SETH SCHIESEL September 2005:

10 Even famous people play… Bill Amend (Foxtrot) about his WOW playing habits… It was about 11 pm on a Thursday, with my strips unwritten and due the next day, and instead of being in a healthy deadline panic, all I could think about was how my druid was about to hit level 20 and get the cat form ability. The strips pretty much wrote themselves at that point. Jacques Villeneuve on Everquest… I carry a laptop around, which isnt great but allows me to keep in touch. I play when I would be reading. The only problem is that bed time always ends up later than planned ( Curt Schilling on Everquest.. On the road when my family doesn't travel I play every night, and usually very, very late. I have a Dell laptop that I play on. At home I play almost every night. Depending upon the circumstances, sometimes I can pull an all nighter :) (

11 /played Hours of Play per Week (Nick Yee): The mean of the number of hours played per week was 21.9, and the median was 20. There were no gender differences.

12 Whats it to me? Games, Life, and The Pursuit of Happiness (title stolen from Nick Yee)

13 Back Again to /Played …

14 Time Played Hours of Play per Week (Nick Yee): The mean of the number of hours played per week was 21.9, and the median was 20. There were no gender differences. More accurately is 30-40 hours / week. High-end players can do 70-80 hours a week, routinely. A raid can take anywhere from 4-12 hours.

15 Only 15% of Gamers are Internet Addicts "Jeffrey Parsons - a doctoral candidate from University of Iowa has recently conducted a research on MMORPG addiction….The study found that about 15% of gamers meet the criteria for Internet addiction as provided by Kimberly Young, a leading researcher in Internet addiction. Using more strict criteria, a minimum of at least 10% of gamers met criteria for Internet addiction. Compared to national studies of Internet addiction, this numbers are somewhat elevated. However, given the sheer number of hours MMORPG gamers spend online (in comparison to the general population), even a 15% addiction rate is somewhat low. To illustrate the point, the college student spends 10 hours on the Internet per week. The average MMORPG gamer (addicted or not) spends 20-25 hours per week just playing MMORPGs, and an additional 10-15 hours per week in other Internet use. In other words, MMORPG players are spending 4x as much time online as non-gamers. (Slashdot,

16 While playing WoW recently, a friend of mine suggested we all type in "/played" to see how many hours of game time we had logged. To my surprise, I was at 12 days, 8 hours and 17 minutes. That's 296 hours of time. My friend (a stay-at-home dad) then pointed out that he was at 28 days. That's 672 hours of time. Let's say for the sake of argument that a work week is 40 hours long. My friend has spent almost 17 work weeks in WoW (7 and a half for me) since November. There are a few possible reactions to this. Let me play out two extremes: 1) Fantastic. I wish I could play that much! He must have a great time, uber gear and a bunch of friends. or 2) Get a life. This is the end of civilization as we know it as virtual communities displace real-world ones. This is Robert Putnam's hypothesis. Expect a radical decline in the quality of existing relationships, more divorces, declining work productivity and, say others, potential addiction. (Posted by Dmitri Williams on February 2, 2005; One thing that really opened my eyes to how much time I was wasting was to use the /played command in the game. It will tell you exactly how may hours the character has been played down to the seconds. I have checked my husband's... and it says about 24 days of game time has been spent on that specific character. That's 24 days of 24 hours each, so in about a three month period he has spent 576 hours of that time on that one character. That's not counting his level 20... or his level 15... or his level 16... or and of the other various levelled characters he has. Also it doesn't count all the time he spends on reading the web pages and message boards about the game… (anonymous, April 12, 2005)

17 A week has 168 hours in total. Out of that, take –40 hours for work –5-10 hours for commuting –42 hours for sleeping (6 hours / day) –Average playing time: 30+ hours a week (10 each weekend day, 3 hours each day) = 122 hours per week. Which leaves 46 hrs = approx. 6.57 hrs/day for EVERYTHING ELSE (activities such as eating, washing & getting dressing, doing housechores, paying bills, getting groceries, going to the doctor and other errands, looking after kids/ pets/parents, other hobbies) …or 4.57 hrs/day if you are sleeping for 8 hours. …and thats assuming you work only 40 hours a week! …and that is not counting research & discussions on the game / guild boards! A Simple Math Problem…

18 Bridge Command


20 MMOGs do indeed function as one novel form of a new third place for informal sociability much like the pubs, coffee shops, and other hangouts of old…. MMOGs are ideal for creating bridging social capital [broad but weak] and, while they do not deter bonding social capital [deep but narrow] per se, they are also not necessarily designed to foster deep and lasting relationship on their own either. (Constance Steinkuehler, 2005) In the successful game, people get attached to their characters, and then to the game-world. (Jessica Mulligan, executive producer behind Asherons Call) People dont just want to be placed in a world and told to have fun. Some people want a little bit of direction in terms of what they can do. (John Smedley)

21 /lol, /cheer, /dance, /rude RL MMOG /con wife (I need help with my wife faction!) Guilds = Family About 40% of players feel that their online friends are comparable or even better than their real life friends…. about 30% of MMORPG players have told personal issues or secrets to online friends that they have never told anyone else. (Nick Yee, 2003)

22 EQW - 5950 members and growing He gets home from work, starts playing, and generally doesn't get off until bed time. Any day off is an all-day gaming fests. He currently is getting up around 5am to play for a couple of hours before work. (March 27, 2004) For 2 months now my fiance has not stopped playing EQ for more than 10 minutes unless he is sleeping or at work! And he only stops playing to sleep for a couple hours. So he plays at the very least 8 hours through the week and ALL weekend. We have 4 kids … and are having another in less than 2 weeks. (April 19, 2004)

23 After I lost my job, I'd play 18 hours straight at times. There was once I even played for over 30 hours without sleep. I'd play EQ, sleep, wake up, play EQ. I wouldn't eat or drink much. My room was a disaster. Everything was a disaster. (July 2, 2004) I started playing EQ in April of 2001, from that time up to about a year ago I played more and more. I joined higher level guilds and worked my way up to the high end game. We ( my guild ) raided 5 nights a week sometimes for 10+ hours, and being the good raider I was I even went with or lead pick-up raids on our nights off. It came to the point where I worked for 8 hours a day, and played for at least the same amount of time when I got home. …The number of days I've spent playing (days played on all of my characters combined = 300+ days ) was all for what?" (November 27, 2004)

24 "Last November my boyfriend of almost 2 years told me that he wanted World of War Craft. Now okay...I have no idea what this is. All I know is it is a computer game. So I bought it for him for Christmas. That has to be the stupidest thing I have ever done....He plays it the moment he wakes up until the time he goes to work. He goes to work (I bring him dinner there sometimes) and he's looking up stuff about World of Warcraft. He then comes home, grabs dinner, and then sits and plays from 11pm to about 3:30am. Then he gets up and repeats the process. …Now don't get me wrong it isn't that I don't want him to play it. I mean I have hobbies too and friends I go out with, but it is just that it is taking up about 80% of his life." (March 19, 2005)

25 Reasons for Playing At least I am not out on a bar or doing drugs We are saving money I dont feel comfortable around people I will only play for a few minutes My friends are online

26 They will get sick of the game…right?...He quit playing EQ and went to Dark Ages of Camelot….Soon he switched to Star Wars. ….Then he quit Star Wars and went to AO. After a while with that he played Horizons. Now he is playing Lineage and waiting for the new EQ to come out. That or World of Warcraft. (May 27, 2004)

27 Whats in Line for the Future? Veteran Rewards Sony Credit Card /pizza Sony auctions Anarchy Online funded by in-game ads Virtual goods exchange (e.g., Sony auction) More player involvement (player-driven cities, mayors, player council) transforming business models (micropayments, pay-for- content model a look at South Korea and China

28 Whats in Line for the Future? The forecasted $580 million 2005 China game market, has been dominated by one very particular type of game, the massively multiplayer online game or MMOG….these MMOG products are expected to make up over 75% of the China game market in 2005. (From: The Service-Oriented Game Industry: Paving the Way for New Business Models, DFC Intelligence, September 2005,

29 Resources Ariadne - Understanding MMORPG Addiction (Nicholas Yee) Avatars Offline (shortened education version: Virtual Worlds: Inside Online Games) Daedalus Project (Nicholas Yee) DFC Intelligence: Game Industry Research International Game Developers Association: Online Games SIG Massively Multiplayer Online Games: The Past, The Present, and The Future. MMOGs MMOG Research by Constance A. Steinkuehler (Bruce Woodcock) Social Study Games Terra Nova

30 Select Readings Bauman, S. (2004, September 14). Just one fix. Computer Games Magazine. Retrieved from Becker, D. (2002, April 12). When games stop being fun. CNET News. Retrieved from Hughes, N. (2005, June 9). Multiplayer mayhem. Retrieved from 609018/1004/entertainment 609018/1004/entertainment Kosak, D. (2003, March 7). Why is Korea the king of multiplayer gaming? Gamespy. Retrieved from McCandless, D. (2003, April 3). Just one more go….Guardian. Retrieved from,3858,4639233-110837,00.html,3858,4639233-110837,00.html Palma, K. (2003, January 12). The New Addiction. Eagle Tribune. Retrieved from Strahan, A. (2003, January 24). EverQuest Widows Unite. G4. Retrieved from Schwartz, J. (2000, May 17). Silicon Dreams: Real life and virtual life intersect as technology affects the way we think and live. Washington Post, Page G03. Retrieved from dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A12190-2000May16¬Found=true dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A12190-2000May16¬Found=true Waters, D. (2005, February 17). Losing yourself in online gaming. BBC News (UK Edition): Technology. Retrieved from

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