Why Do You Play?
The subtlety in the answers to this seemingly straight-forward question is quite fascinating even after 4 years of exploring the reasons why people play MMORPGs. One player likens it to explaining the meaning of life:
That question is about as difficult to answer as ask for the meaning of life :) Not sure why I 'still' play. Everyday I log on and find something new to complain about or not like, or bump into someone who rubs me the wrong way...funny how an online environment can be similar to reality in that sense? For me personally, I do enjoy the fantasy about it all, being something your not even in the imaginary sense. It also provides an easy way for me to keep in touch with several real life friends Iíve made over the years who have moved to new geographic locations. The same applies for family, I have a brother who plays and this is the only way we can 'spend time together' with a country between us. [EQ, M, 28]
But his answer also quickly exposes the interweaving of underlying motivations, dodging the categorization and assessment schemes that people like Bartle and me have tried to create. On an aggregate level, the general categorization of why people play seems to be quite robust and can roughly be described as: 1) achievement, 2) socialization, 3) immersion, 4) vent/escape, 5) competition. On an individual level, however, the answers are quite provocative and resist easy categorization.
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