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DRAVEN: HOSTILE ARSENAL`Crusade GUARDIANS PierceTheVeins Fenris Mastermind Vengeance LEGION ELITE Imperial SUPERIOR Descendants REVENGE AllStars CONQUEROR CONQUEST Renegades Celestial Beings Enrage ... [go]

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Prior Gaming Experiences

With regards to table-top role-playing games, 75% of respondents replied that they have had experiences with them. Among those who have had experiences with table-top RPGs, male players were more likely to have had extensive experiences with table-top RPGs.

Experience with table-top RPGs is most likely among those who are currently between 29 - 35 of age - people who would have been teenagers in the 80s when D&D was popularized (and then demonized).

The overall pattern that emerges is that even though male players have slightly more experience with video gaming than female players, overall, current MMO players seem to have a fairly substantial background in games that were the predecessors of MMOs - i.e., table-top RPGs and MUDs/MOOs. In other words, it seems that MMOs were more of a logical next-step for many current MMO gamers than a truly new kind of activity.


Posted on January 3, 2006 | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)


This is very interesting stuff! I'd love to see a breakdown of prior tabletop experience by age. I'd also be interested in seeing data on how many MMORPG players abandon RPGs for online gaming.

(Of course, I work in the tabletop RPG business, so I'm biased. But any data you could share would be interesting.)

Posted by: Mike Mearls on January 4, 2006 2:51 PM

This kind of data seems to support general assumptions about the kinds of people who play games. Many people assume that female players prefer a role-playing experience and the data on previous games played seems to agree. I wonder though, if the data on age groups for having played table-top RPGs might be affected by the fact that that age range coincides with the rise in popularity of such games. My 3-cents

Posted by: Damien on January 4, 2006 7:42 PM

I'd be interested to know what the population was that was sampled to produce these numbers.

Ideally, you want an unbiased sample, but it's difficult to get truly unbiased data. The method of sampling is going to affect what population you're getting, which in turn affects your results.

Posted by: Matthew on January 4, 2006 11:04 PM

Matthew - Links to online surveys are publicized on main portals catering to specific games. Respondents from past surveys are also notified of the available surveys. Most surveys are multiple choice and consist of 30-50 questions, and usually take about 5-10 minutes to complete. Approximately 2000-4000 respondents participate in each survey phase.

[copied from]

Posted by: Nick Yee on January 5, 2006 1:16 AM

This to a large extent reflects what I have seen in my last couple of years of playing EQ1. I am female, and have been playing computer games.. for like.. forever. But most other girls I know in EQ have not.

The majority of other girls I meet in the game have had little prior experience with computer games, and for most EQ is their first and only MMORPG. And I the vast majority of girl players that I know also started playing because someone they know introduced them - most often a spouse or boyfriend.

Posted by: Kimi on January 6, 2006 6:02 AM

I am curious as to the trend over time with respect to this data. By a non-scientific observation of the data plotted, it seems that "Female" players are gaining an intrest in Video Games which allow Role Play. I note that in my experience, most "Male" players seem to be achievement oriented, and have little interest in Role Play (note, most, not all), while "Female" players - I reference "Women of WoW" - tend to be interested in both Role Play, and high achievement.

I would be interested to see if - over time - the population tends to shift to the right, meaning that the number of experienced "Female" players moves toward a higher corellation with the population of "Male" players, now that game play acutally allows for a certain degree of avatar social interaction (Role Play), and not just "Chat".

Posted by: aeolis on January 31, 2006 5:49 AM

"Experience with table-top RPGs is most likely among those who are currently between 29 - 35 of age - people who would have been teenagers in the 80s when D&D was popularized (and then demonized)."

Actually, someone who was 35 in 2006 (when you wrote this) was only 9 when the 80s started. 29 yr olds would have been 3. DnD was popularized and demonized in the early 80s - for folks who are now in their 40s. People who are 29-35 are most likely those who came into contact with the recent (late 90s and onward) resurgence of DnD, at which time they were more like 18-24.

Nitpicky, but just wanted to point that out.

Posted by: evilbob on October 31, 2007 12:04 PM

Hi Nick.

On page 2 there is a genre "TBS". What does that stand for? It doesn't say anything about that abbreviation in the text.

I hope you'll clarify that for me.

Posted by: Thora B. Pedersen on December 6, 2008 10:18 PM

Thora - It stands for Turn-Based Strategy (games like Civilization, Master of Orion, Heroes of Might and Magic, etc.)

Posted by: Nick Yee on December 7, 2008 6:00 PM
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