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Players Who Have Quit

Players who have quit are by definition difficult to target, because they are far less likely to go to MMORPG portals when they are no longer playing the game. Because I maintain a database of respondents to facilitate analyzing across survey phases by matching a respondent’s email address, I found myself in a position to target players who were in my database but who had quit the game since they first participated in my surveys. Of course, the following data is by no means representative of all players who have quit, but it is a first step in understanding players who quit and why they quit.

418 respondents completed the “exit survey”, of which 51% are not currently playing any MMORPG.

Respondents were asked to indicate how long they played the game before they quit, as well as how long they kept their account active for after they stopped playing. Because of the large variance of this variable (0 to 60), it was difficult to do significance testing on age and gender differences.

Even with a non-representative sampling, we can still find valid subgroup differences. For example, even with a non-representative sampling of the general population – 4 times the number of women versus men, we will still probably find that the men in this sample weigh more than the women. This is true as long as there are no systematic biases that affected these subgroups. Thus, the age and differences below are likely to be true even though the overall sampling is probably skewed.

There were significant age and gender differences with regards to whether these respondents were currently playing an MMORPG. Overall, 48.5% of these respondents were currently playing an MMORPG. Female players were more likely to be currently playing an MMORPG than male players (68% as opposed to 45%). Furthermore, older players were more likely to be currently playing an MMORPG when compared with younger players.

Respondents were also asked whether they gave away their character’s items when they left the game. Overall, 60% of respondents did not give away their items, 29% gave them away to friends, and 10% gave them away to strangers. There were no significant gender differences, but players under 23 were more likely to give away their items than players above 22 (50% as opposed to 35%).

Posted on February 11, 2003 | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)


I'm curious about the things players do before they quit. I've played muds for a while and am an admin of a small online mud, and it seems to me that the players who make the most noise before they leave (pronouncements, postings, giving things away, etc) almost always come back. When players leave, they just go quietly.

Have you done any surveying on this? From your collected testimonials ("Narratives: Why We Quit" or elsewhere), what have you found on this topic?

Posted by: Peter H. on February 17, 2003 5:35 AM

Were you able to collect any kind of information as to why players left the games they had played?

What was the curve for how long players had spent in the game before quitting? Was it linear, bell-shaped, etc.?

What was the target audience for your survey? Were you posting on a game site (i.e. where hardcore gamers would be likely to be found) or did you have some reason to believe your numbers are a representative sampling of the players of the game?

Posted by: Conrad W. on February 17, 2003 5:01 PM

I'm a frequent player on Everquest, and I've had quite a few friends that have quit. Their reason was usually that the game had change too much over the past couple of years. With the introduction of the Bazaar, and other zones that restricted interaction, especially in the buying/selling portion of the game, people felt that the game was turning into more of a quest of equipment, as opposed to having fun and exploring.

Posted by: Matt C. on February 17, 2003 10:18 PM

I have recently stopped playing Everquest, and will soon terminate my account. Matt C's comment really resonates with me, but I believe the main reason that I have decided to stop playing is an inability to meet the time demanded of me to make the game worth my money.
EQ is a game that makes it almost impossible to play for only an hour or two at a time after a certain point (in my experience around level 20, though it varies) unless you have a hardcore group you always play with, the time it takes to find a group, get to your destination, and then actually hunt is far to much for me to give. As an active teen, I have school, misc. extracurricular activities, and a social life to attend to as well as grabbing enough sleep to function like a decent human being. Something has to go and it ended up being EQ.

Posted by: zal on February 24, 2003 9:23 PM

I recently quit EQ, and there was a few reasons for this. The primary reason was the in-game friends I became attached to, partied with, and had a good time with, began to get on at differnt times. Since I stayed away from the populated areas, this made it some what difficult to meet new groups. Also, I ended up having numerous demands on my time, such as additional hours at work, longer study times for classes, ect. Finally, it seemed the enitre game was based around either the Diablo concept(Kill the monsters, take their stuff) or the Morrowind concept (find obscure quest, which leads to a more obscure quest, which leads to an even more obscure quest.) So I left it. I am, though, considering joining a differnt one where my RL friends are.

Posted by: Matt U on January 12, 2005 8:47 PM

I have a boyfriend who play EQ, and EQ was there before I was. I am pretty sure that if I gave him an ultimatum, EQ would remain, and I would have to go. I'm curious, because he's been on that computer for six years now playing this game, if he is probably too integrated to ever quit. I mean will he EVER give it up? If this is unlikely, I should not be with him anymore, even though I really care for him, I deserve an undivided heart, just like the one I gave him, so what gives? What should I do?

Posted by: Natalie on October 19, 2005 7:39 PM

Natalie, that is an impossible question. EQ is his hobby, he has lots of friends there, he does exciting stuff there. I am sure reading this site will give you a good understanding of why your boyfriend is playing, and what he gets out of it.
I am of course biased in my view on this, being a long time and active player myself, but here is my 2 coppers worth:
If you are jealous of a video game hobby, should you not stop and consider that for a while?
What if he was... say ... singing in a choir? would you feel the same way?
Why /not?
Are you perhaps heading towards making your man make a sacrifice to deserve your love? You find out. I do not want to go there. But it's an old theme, you will find plenty of examples in literature and in history. Take a look and check if that is a healthy approach to love.
You talk about hypotetically giving him an ultimatum: EQ or you. You fear he would choose EQ. I think you should fear more the resentment he would feel if you gave him the ultimatum and he gave up EQ for you. Really.
A better approach would be, imho, to discuss with him the reasons why he play, find out how he feels about EQ and his community there, and about you. There is also nothing wrong with demanding that he spends time with you, of course. Be smart, make him want to spend time with you away from EQ, then negotiate how much. Do something fun with him (that HE thinks is fun.. there must be something besides EQ?)
Setting aside separate time for EQ and for RL on some time of negotiated and adjustable timetable would probably work for most.
About the prospect of him ever quitting: Ever is a long time. Chances are that sooner or later development in the game, or in real life, or the upcoming of another game, or finding another hobby, will make all of us quit playing EverQuest. I can only speak for myself, of course, but I cannot really picture myself laying down my wizards robes and staff forever. Even if I know that nothing is forever.
Hope that helps you a bit in your quest for happiness, Natalie. Good luck.

Posted by: Seafarer Sunsparkle on October 20, 2005 12:52 AM

Heh, this observation is great!

I would intuit that the ones who are most vocal are the ones who want to keep playing, but feel as if the game is changing in ways they don't like. They WANT to play the game, and this desire is not curbed when they quit; eventually they try to make the best of things, and find they're willing to try to make the game work on the new terms, than just quitting altogether.

(You see this on the forums all the time -- the same people whining about the new batch of changes, and how they're going to leave, and protest, and raise havok, and so on... and then they're still around doing it NEXT release... Sigh.)

Those who leave quietly have decided the game is simply not for them. They're not likely at all to come back, simply because they were never "forced" to go in the first place; the game simply did not meet their desires or expectations.

It would be interesting to see what a survey might dredge up, but this is my main guess.

Posted by: Fortunato on May 19, 2006 8:47 AM

my bf always play computer games and he been playing it since very young and has been almost a premenant fixture in his life.imho i think that we(gf)shouldnt be jealous of it(even though i am guilty of it sometimes).

try playing the game with him(he might get anonnyed at how we dont know how to move/fight/etc as well/as fast as he can)but at least you can speak about the game about him and find out what interest him about it.

best case is that you found a new game you like and something else to talk about with your bf plus spending more time with him(online still counts),worst case is you tried and you can honestly say you dont like it.

ps:he might even get jealous of you that you can do better then him

Posted by: Ruby on November 29, 2006 6:15 AM
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