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Education and Income

33% of the respondents were students. Here is the “highest education level achieved” breakdown for players who are and are not students.

Of those players who are students, 33% are pursuing a degree in the Technology area. Here is the annual personal income breakdown.

Posted on February 11, 2003 | Comments (22) | TrackBack (0)


Can you provide a breakdown of that housewife vs student vs unemployed segment?

Posted by: Raph on February 15, 2003 12:33 AM

Raph - because I didn't ask that option separately in the questionnaire, I can't give you a breakdown. Maybe I'll include that question in a future questionnaire.

Posted by: Nick Yee on February 15, 2003 11:22 AM

From the data collected in the first question above, 33% of respondents are students. If that is true, you can infer that the total number of housewives and unemployed people IS EQUAL TO 3.2%, or 36.2% (total number of student, housewife and unemployed folks in question #2) MINUS 33.0% (total number of students in question #1).

It's not the total breakdown you wanted, but at least you get the sense that EQ's unemployment rate is less than the national average. ;)

Posted by: Sasha on February 16, 2003 8:42 PM

Yeah, I had thought about thinking about it like that (Sasha's comment) but I think some of my respondents who were in school also choose to report a personal annual income, because 3.2% as the combined unemployed + housewives seemed a bit low ...

Posted by: Nick Yee on February 16, 2003 11:02 PM

Can you do a comparitive distribution of earning of non-players?

Posted by: Ed on February 17, 2003 11:13 AM

Last I checked, median income in the US is about $35K, so mmog players earn less than typical. That can't be too exciting for the game companies, but on the other hand, they're dealing with a demographic with a high proportion of entertainment expense (aka disposable income, which I think is a goofy term).
Good thing it's a relatively cheap hobby!

Posted by: wynnde on February 17, 2003 12:44 PM

The median from my sample was 25k-40k, so it may not be that off

Posted by: Nick Yee on February 17, 2003 1:56 PM

I don't recall the question on annual income but I do know that if asked, I'd automatically reply in terms of $AU. Did the question compensate for the fact that your respondents are from all over the world?

Posted by: Daria on March 5, 2003 2:17 AM

can it be said that the correlation between income and the willingess to play by players as reflected by the number of hours played will hold true in a 3rd world country? i come from one and we have a very young MMORPG market

does high income mean more hours spent/played in the servers?

Posted by: aeon on September 14, 2003 2:33 AM

Not a surprise considering the average education follows primarily the same flow. Although I would like to point out that on average a student, housewife, or unemployed games more often, sparking the idea that gaming leads to lower class jobs or unemployment altogether.

Posted by: Josh on March 16, 2005 12:38 PM

Would be interesting to see about those housewives and unemployed people. For the housewives: Are they married to rich guys? Or were they rich before they married? Do they have kids, or is it just them and their hubby? Does they spouse also play the game?

For the unemployed, are they rich? Or have rich parents or something who help with all expenses? Are they simply between jobs atm and looking for something? Or did they maybe become unemployed because of their gaming?

Posted by: curious on August 11, 2005 12:04 PM

Interesting data...I am a full-time student and full-time worker at about 45hrs/wk. I fall in the 55k-70k category. It's patently obvious that an individual with a higher income level is less apt to play an MMORPG due to the time commitment required for most careers netting large salaries. I have to admit I'm a bit struck by how much of a minority my situation is, however.

Posted by: Erik on August 15, 2005 6:30 AM

The L.A. Times Parade Magazine insert for 3/12/06 ran an article titled, What People Earn and listed pictures of about 75 people, everything from Actors,Baseball Players, CEO's (ABC order)to Teachers, TV News anchors and gave the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2005 for the median weekly income for each category. Under each picture it gave the actual yearly income for that person, and where they were located; for instance Anderson Cooper, 38, News anchor, $2 million, Teri Hatcher 41, Desparate Housewife, $1.2 million, Fred Williams, 28, Police dective, 28, $45,500. Harry Reid,66, Senate Majority Leader, $183,500. Then the one that made me real curious was the picture of Carls Kennedy, 40, Housewife. Income $0.00
My question is this; did I see a statistic that gave an average income for Housewife's? I prefer to use the name "Home Maker". It has been documented in medical scientific journals that married men live longer than both their unmarried brothers and homosexuals. Given that fact it shouldn't be impossible to arrive at a reasonable amount to credit Homemakers with for a national yearly income. What would a working man have to pay surrogate mother, house cleaner, child care provider, cook, book keeper, errand runner, aecretary, etc. Does that make my point? I'm sure me wife and four married daughters coulc add add to that list.

Posted by: C.J. Cota on March 13, 2006 7:04 PM

what is the differences between "college" and "some college"?

Also, is there any statistically significant difference between different educational level?

Posted by: Kelly on April 22, 2006 6:52 PM

Some college means you started, but haven't finished. College means you finished a degree. Graduate (I assume) means you have completed graduate studies.

Posted by: Ramona on August 30, 2006 5:10 PM

I am interested in the level of intelligence. Almost all of my patients that I either see or hear about from families by email or phone, I think they are extremely bright, often honor students, and have falling grades, dropped out of good schools or colleges, Have any of you subjects volunteered this information about themselves. The other information that I study is what is their motivation for this behavior.
Have you any information about that?.

Posted by: Maressa Hecht Orzack, Ph.D. on March 25, 2007 9:26 AM

Your polled information isn't sufficient to draw any conclusions from.
1. Good or Bad
2. What race
3. How old are you

??? Are the results supposed to mean anything?
When you have results on a poll and the disparity is absolutely massive, like 90% girls choose good and 90% boys choose bad, then maybe your polls mean something. But with the results you've presented, they mean nothing and shows that you aren't asking the right questions.

I compare it to gathering statistics on crime. Lots a high percentage of crimes committed are committed by black people. But does that really mean anything? Ask more questions about the conditions the criminals were raised in and you find results that have no interest in skin color.

Ask the right questions to the people you poll and then *maybe* you can find some meaning in the results. But most of your polls are worthless.

Posted by: mogrin on March 25, 2007 10:03 AM

I would think that Maressa has a very good insight. It has been my experience that all but one of the players I know in real life, including myself, can be described as extremely bright. The failing grades and drop out tendency of this group I would wager would be from addictive play habits. The inteligent players would be min/maxers and constantly wanting some sort of stimulus and challenge to feed the "intellectual adreniline rush."

Posted by: Benjamin on March 25, 2007 10:05 AM

Hi Maressa - I've seen several instances of that over the years in the open-ended surveys, but I'd caution against drawing conclusions from them because they may actually be representative of the MMO population in general (which Benjamin's comment also suggests). In other words, it might be the case that MMOs (compared with TV or movies) tend to draw people who prefer interactive intellectual challenges and who are smarter in general. So it may not be that smarter people tend to develop gaming problems as much as MMO players tend to be smarter to begin with.

And some of the data here speaks to that. In the US, there is only one state where % of people (over 25) with graduate degrees is larger than 15% (the % found in this survey). See this table:

So it might be the case that MMO players are brighter and more intellectual to begin with. But we'd need more data to figure out for sure.

Posted by: Nick Yee on March 25, 2007 1:31 PM

Nick's comment that MMO players may be brighter and more intellectual as a group than the U.S. population has an intuitive appeal. MMOs require a constant development and use of strategy, complex social interactions (like trying to "read" people through their avatars, managing guilds, and coordinating raids with people who have different interests and skills), goal-setting, and optimization, which are not typically found in other past-times. In addition, the people who are most likely to have a desire to build these skills are those who are drawn to learning (which is represented by those people who seek education). I will be interested in seeing what results come from future studies on this topic.

I also want to respond to mogrin's comments. Mogrin said that the results don't mean anything. I've noticed that several people who have posted to this and other articles mistakenly believe three things:

1. You must have large differences for the results to mean anything.
2. The researcher should gather information on as many variables as possible. (Sometimes this is more constrained, as in, "Why didn't you ask about X?")
3. The result must be "good" or "bad."

I think that this article is a great example of why all three of these beliefs are mistaken. Let me approach them, in order.

1. One of the common misconceptions in academia, the media, and pretty much everywhere else is that the only worthwhile results are significant results. Not so! In this article, Nick determined that the non-students have a fairly equal distribution of those who completed high school, some college, and college. And because we have these results, we now have other possibilities to explore. (For example: What other areas could we detect a difference among? Why doesn't this follow the national distribution?) Good research isn't always "I've found something!" NOT finding something (or determining that a factor is not significant) is equally good - it tells you to pursue another area!

2. Survey length is the great bane of all researchers. Yes, we all want to ask about race, age, income, marital status, access to computers, computer literacy, intelligence, siblings, family life, do you own or rent your home, etc. As you can see, this list is fairly extensive. The problem is that asking all these questions makes for a long survey, and most people who are faced with a 30+ minute survey won't complete it. In fact, it's often a struggle to get people to complete a 5 minute survey! (This comes from experience.) As such, shorter is better, but you do not get as much data as a longer survey. It's an art trying to balance the desire for information and the need to keep the survey short to increase response rate. So if you see a variable missing that's not crucial to understanding the question, raise it as a good area to explore in future research.

3. People often want to say that a result is "good" or "bad" because it simplifies the result. Is it good that MMO players have a median income comparable to the national average? Saying "yes" (or "no") allows a person to leave the article thinking, "See, more evidence that games are good (or bad)!" without really considering the results. Except, there's no moral superiority in either position. The results from Nick's surveys are simply the aggregation of data.

It's kind of like the taste of tomatoes. Some people love the flavor of tomatoes, some loathe them, and the majority fall somewhere in the middle. However, no one would say that tomatoes are inherently good or bad based on their flavor - such a statement is meaningless. So be careful if you want to draw conclusions about whether or not the results are "good" or "bad." First consider the data as-is and make sure that such an evaluation is actually relevant.

Posted by: Dave on June 27, 2007 1:12 PM

Thanks Dave. Couldn't have put it better myself.

Posted by: Nick Yee on June 27, 2007 1:22 PM

Just wondering
When were the data gathered?
How was this sample selected?
Why did you choose the sample your chose?

Posted by: joshua on February 10, 2008 7:42 PM
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