Current Issue: Vol. 7-1 (03/09/2009)



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The Gamer Habitat

This leads us to the frequency of MMO gamers who usually play with someone else in the same room (i.e., two gamers, two computers, playing together). It was striking that for female players in the 23-35 age range, more than half regularly play together with someone else in the same room.

Here's another way to think about the issue. I asked players to indicate whether they usually play alone or with someone else in the room. With the numbers we've seen so far, it makes sense that female players are more likely to be with someone else while playing, whereas male players are more likely to be alone.

But overall, I think these numbers highlight the often social aspects of game-play, not only in the virtual world, but in the physical world. MMO gamers are playing together with other people in two separate worlds. Some may argue that people are displacing interaction with each other with a virtual and less real experience, but watching TV together passively seems to me to be the far more pervasive and less interactive phenomenon. Narratives from players who do play together also challenge the non-interactive argument. Their descriptions highlight how playing together in the virtual world can strengthen real world relationships.



I am certainly typical of the results. I am a woman in my forties, and always play with my husband. What may be odd is that I introduced him to MMORPG's. Or convinced him we should play, I guess.
We always game together, whether an MMORPG or a stand-alone game. It is great friendship time for us.
And yes, it is much more interactive than TV, but less so in some ways than board games or table top games, or any other activity we do, such as walks and hikes and the like.

Posted by: Susan on March 23, 2006 7:05 AM

My wife (34) and I (38) almost always play games together, >90% of the time, I would say. What is interesting about how we play is that we play games physically together on the same machine, with one of us controlling the keyboard and the other controlling the mouse. I haven't heard of this behavior elsewhere, but it works for us and it lets us play together and be physically together (proximally close) at the same time.

Posted by: Mark on March 23, 2006 7:32 AM

I think I probably was a respondent in this, because I always fill out the surveys when I get an e-mail that there is a new one. Anyhow, on the thing about playing on laptop versus desktop - we have two computers with mmorpg installed, but there are usually two of us in the room, and since mine is the laptop, i play on the laptop. it has nothing to do with portability for me, so i just wanted to comment.

Posted by: Holly on March 23, 2006 4:17 PM

My girlfriend and I almost always play together. I estimate about 92% of the time. I think we represent an expected sample. Sometimes her younger sister comes to visit and we all play together. In respect to laptops vs desktops: I keep 3 desktops for WOW and a laptop.

I was in Atlanta recently and we used WoW to spend time together. We talked on Ventrillo. We used WoW and the voice software to interactive in virtual space, rather just a cell phone.

Posted by: Steven Turner on March 24, 2006 5:57 AM

My partner and I configured our office with gaming in mind. We each have our own desk (mine with two gaming machines on KVM and research laptop, hers with gamiing machine). We also have two guest staions complete with monitors, keyboard and mouse (and one non-gaming machine available for research) for friends that come over to play. We spend many weekeneds and normal gathering times (New Years Eve, Holidays) here with friends.

Posted by: MJ on March 24, 2006 7:21 AM

Something you could look into, if you haven't already, are those of us in stable, loving RL relationships who form strong in game relationships with other people. (I'm a female player, 27.)

My SO does not play MMO's with me, but that doesn't stop me from having an in game partner. We are rarely not playing together. There is a bond that comes with playing with people for a long period of time and it effects your game play if you play often enough. While I never play with my SO, I am never playing the game alone.

Posted by: Noressa on March 24, 2006 9:23 AM

Something you could look into, if you haven't already, are those of us in stable, loving RL relationships who form strong in game relationships with other people. (I'm a female player, 27.)

My SO does not play MMO's with me, but that doesn't stop me from having an in game partner. We are rarely not playing together. There is a bond that comes with playing with people for a long period of time and it effects your game play if you play often enough. While I never play with my SO, I am never playing the game alone.

Posted by: Noressa on March 24, 2006 9:27 AM

Well, I met my fiancee online on a game, what can I say... We play games a lot, together or alone, and we don't mind. If he wants to play a game alone, or a MMO in a different server, it's ok, I call it personal time :P I do the same too. No partner aggro here, which is good.

Posted by: Alexandra Erenhart on March 24, 2006 9:44 AM

One thing I noticed when taking the survey is that it wasn't entirely specific when asking how many gaming machines were in a household. I am a female in my early twenties and I live alone. However, I have two computers, both of which I regularly use to game. So when asked if there was another gaming machine in the room/household, I answered yes. I think it would have helped to stipulate - another gaming machine that somebody other than yourself uses. I'm sure this didn't completely skew the results, but I think it would have helped to be more clear.

Posted by: Lauren on March 24, 2006 9:46 AM

I have 3 desktops and 2 laptops all of which have the game software loaded. Sometime my wife and I play together. sometimes she goes to bed early and I have a desktop next to the bed so I am in the room with her while she sleeps. When she games I game with her exclusively, and sometimes she just sits next to me and we talk while I play.

Posted by: Ken on March 24, 2006 12:16 PM

Above article and other articles show strong tendency of female players playing together (with partners or family members) Now I wonder what makes this result. First, I can assume that most female players don't start playing game by themselves and someone encourages them to start playing in most cases, so it shows such result as a consequence. On the other hand, I can assume that female players have strong preference to play together not only in OL, but also in RL, so they always try to make someone to play with. Which one is closer to the fact?

Posted by: Mun on March 27, 2006 12:32 AM

The gender differences in laptops/desktops may be due to the fact that the 18-22 age group is the group that goes to college.

It'd be fair enough to assume that 10% of home computers are laptops. The extra 3% is due to the fact that the laptop/desktop ratio in college is different compared to the general public.

Posted by: GuruMeditation on April 13, 2006 12:57 PM

I am not sure how the question was posited, but the results might be skewed by the fact that many women have children running through the house while they are least the women in my guild.

Posted by: Gravina on March 27, 2007 2:03 PM

Hey Gravina - With the last graph that could be the case, but with the 3rd graph, the question asked specifically about whether there was another person also playing an MMO (on a different computer) in the same room. So I think that 3rd graph is the more interesting subset of the 4th graph.

Posted by: Nick Yee on March 27, 2007 2:39 PM

An idea hit me while I was taking a shower: of the individuals who play MMOs on laptops, how many do they play outside of their usual location, such as internet cafes or places with wi-fi. Better yet, how many play their MMOs outside of their homes or in a public place?

Some implications or causes I could think of is the temporal flexibility of individuals who have spare time between work which allow them to fill that time with gaming. Another implication is a possible symptom of addiction, one try to continue their lives, but is continuing their gaming using their laptops.

Posted by: janarius on March 29, 2007 6:53 AM

this statistic is a good example for women having less space than men.
there's still need of one room of one's own.

Posted by: wolfsmutter on April 10, 2007 6:37 AM

I don't know if this is part of the reason or normal for the routine, but I know my GF and I play MMO's and other games together all the time, this is a direct result of me being an avid gamer and recognizing the need to lower spouse aggro, so when I started heavy into FFXI I built her a desktop and got her a copy of the game, when I took a break from FFXI and started playing Monster Hunter online on PS2, I bought a second tv and ps2 and copy of the game, then moved on to guild wars and finally WoW as of late, we found that we tend to play alot with other couples as often as signles which makes for good interaction on social levels even thou over the internet. I regularly advise friends of mine who are gamers to try and entice their SO's into the same realms as them to lower the ever dangerous spouse aggro, keep in mind this is a "feint" not a wipe, I have found they still need more real world interaction then any naturally born avid gamer.

Posted by: Tethmes on May 8, 2007 12:14 PM

My wife (32) and I (37) have been playing WoW together for 2.5 years. She hates solo-questing, but will tolerate it if I group with her. She also doesn't like to raid or join a 5-man group if I'm not there.
However, she's a bigger PvP fanatic than I am. She gets home from work an hour before I do, and frequently when I get home she'll be in Alterac Valley. She has over 35,000 lifetime Honor Kills compared to my 11,000. :P

Posted by: Charles on May 25, 2007 4:19 PM
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