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



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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]

Ashraf Ahmed : real-world context can be inserted into a virtual world, effectively turning the virtual world into a forum for real-world contexts. ... [go]

Roflmaodoodoodadoodoo: I didn't get it from the generator, but I saw it in Arathi Basin and thought it was the best ... [go]

Keesha: In awe of that aneswr! Really cool! ... [go]

Bobbo: This does look promising. I'll keep cmoing back for more. ... [go]



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Additional Player Demographics

I also looked into attitudes towards religion and social issues. As the graphs show below, religion tends to be fairly unimportant in the lives of most MMO players.

This trend is also reflected in the question about political leaning. Players were asked where they typically stood in terms of social issues, such as abortion, gay rights, and stem cell research. Most MMO players tended to be liberal-leaning, with female players describing themselves as more liberal than male players.

I also tried to see whether either of these two questions was related to class choice among World of Warcraft players. Differences only involved one particular class - Paladins. And while the difference was significant, it was also very small. Players who preferred to be play Paladins in WoW tended to be more conservative and religion tended to play a bigger role in their lives. Again, I want to emphasize that this was a significant, but small, difference.



Birth order -- what would make this more meaningful is to show how this deviates from the population.

For instance, if
1/3 of families have 1 child

1/3 have 2 children

1/3 have 3 children

Then the % of eldest children in the population would be:

.33 + (.5 x .33) + (.33 x .33) = .61

So, compared to this simple model, the # of players who are eldest children would actually be LESS than you would expect from average demographics.



Posted by: robert on March 25, 2007 6:40 AM

opps, I messed that up,

the right answer is that out of the population of 6 people (3 kids + 2 kids + 1 kid) there are 3 eldest children. So, 50% of the population would be an eldest child.

Posted by: robert on March 25, 2007 6:49 AM

Actually, you're forgetting that there was also an option for "Only child," so those wouldn't count as oldest (unless they also missed it). Given that, we'd expect a distribution of 2/6 = 33% eldest children, given your simplified model.

Posted by: Bryan on March 25, 2007 10:23 AM

Not sure about the eldest's being more likely to play MMORPGS...but I'd be interested in knowing the birth orders of particular types of players- guild leaders typically being firstborns b/c they have to take the lead in real life? Or middle children typically being guild leaders b/c they find in a virtual world the power, attention, and efficacy they lack in real life)?

Posted by: Ash on March 25, 2007 12:31 PM

Maybe it has something to do with being usurped after making a lot of effort to adapt to a given situation, finding out how to understand, reassure and please a primary care-giver and then the whole situation changing; going from being the centre of mother's attention to second priority is an immense change,like losing all your stuff!!!.Is this acting-out or what? The babyhood denial of importance of real life? Increased tendancy to "virtual" wish-fulfilment.Retreat from reality as uncontrollable.

(Collated from 4 separate posts to reduce clutter - Nick Yee)

Maybe first-borns like replying to questionnaires.

Answering questionnaires satisfies first borns yearning for attention.

(Sorry about that Olivia. Fixed order a well. - Nick Yee)

Just like to say my 2 little comments above about first-borns and questionnaires are to explain why there SEEM to be more on mmorpgs, whereas my BIG comment was suggesting why there might REALLY be more. These remarks were posted separately and in a different order originally.

Posted by: olivia on March 25, 2007 1:05 PM

Yeah. As Bryan pointed out, "only child" was a separate option.

But in the formulas from Bryan and Robert, the % of "oldest" and "youngest" should be the same, right? But here we find 51% vs 22%, which seems like a somewhat large disparity.

Posted by: Nick Yee on March 25, 2007 1:11 PM

Apparently there is some evidence (ref. in sampling & surveying handbook) to show that this might be the case (fb's like answering qu.s)depending on how the study is conducted. They volunteer more often for group studies involving more than just yes/no answers. But oddly enough you could say that mmorpgs fall into this kind of category of experience too!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: olivia on March 25, 2007 2:14 PM

Very simple to do, Robert. Just plug the actual numbers found from census data and the observed numbers from Nick's research into a Chi-squared test, comparing the expected values against the observed and testing for significance. Any stat's 101 book should offer the formulae for setting up such a contingency table, or you can probably find examples of how to work out such problems by googling "chi-squared test."

Posted by: Tdimhcs on March 25, 2007 8:54 PM

A few figures I found,(having trouble finding anything more complete).Switzerland; only child 27%,oldest 36%, younger 48%.Korea 1985 ; 1st birth (only and oldest)51%,2nd birth 38%.Why is it so difficult to get the figures for birth order?

Posted by: olivia on March 26, 2007 12:20 AM

It does look as if the percentage of oldest children in your study is higher than in the general population.Does this mean that maybe all your other results are being "interfered" with, by oldest children's enthusiasm for answering online questionnaires?If so those online market-research companies should know something about it!!

Posted by: olivia on March 26, 2007 12:32 AM

Maybe an approach would be to set up/issue a survey to a completely different online activity group? On a different site, and see what oldest child % is. ???

Posted by: olivia on March 26, 2007 12:53 AM

Without reading the other commenters: The reason many MOG players are the eldest child might be that they are the only child. A person with siblings might have less inclination to play MOGs. Mostly just a guess.

Posted by: Carl on March 26, 2007 3:30 AM

I'm also interested in see'ing how the political learning and importance of religion correspond to real life. Though this is proberly impossible to do unless you also asked what country people come from in the survey. But otherwise the statistics you have mean very little specificly for mmo players.

Posted by: Dilbe on March 26, 2007 4:39 AM

Might also be becouse the younger siblings are to you to play wow and surf around on sites like this?

Posted by: Johan Granberg on March 26, 2007 5:35 AM

Bah, that didnt make much sence... were trying to say the following:

a) The younger siblings are too young to play mmo's.

b) The younger siblings are too young to be interested in these kinda things.

Posted by: Johan Granberg on March 26, 2007 5:58 AM

I did an informal poll of my RL friends (ages 28 - 43) and the ones who play MMORPG the most are the oldest children.

Only Children (3) - One plays on and off. hasn't played in over six weeks.

Oldest Child (3) - All play and average 15+ hours a week.

Middle Children (4) - Two play and average 5+ hours a week.

Youngest Children (2) None play.

I am one of the first born who plays, and I'm not sure why I do, but now I'm going to think about it.

Posted by: Thorn on March 26, 2007 10:00 AM

About religion and political leaning, did you control age in these two demographics? I'm thinking that older generations are more conservative and more religious than the younger generation, who are more numerous, which could skewer the results.

Posted by: janarius on March 26, 2007 10:59 AM

Birth order - is this biological birth order or the just being the age within the family you were raised in? If it's biological based, rather than social, I just want to point out that us adoptees, blended families, half siblings or people raised by other families might have trouble with this one. For example: I am oldest in one biological family of my half siblings, but second oldest in the family I was raised with.

Posted by: Tyx on March 26, 2007 2:25 PM

tyx, I think it means when YOU were born, were YOU a child all on your own with your "parents", no other children ?

Posted by: olivia on March 26, 2007 3:44 PM

With political learnings on social issues covered, it would be interesting to see how things are on economic issues: Taxes, social security, free trade etc.

Posted by: fimp on March 26, 2007 4:13 PM

Janarius - Correlations with age were .08 (p

Tyx - Good point, and this wasn't stated explicitly in the survey question.

Posted by: Nick Yee on March 26, 2007 4:44 PM

I would be interested to see a much more diverse study of political leanings. Liberal vs. Conservative is very simplistic and easy to misinterpret. Most MMO players are younger and western educated, so a liberal social attitude is to be expected; but other political aspects such as the role of government, economic policies, foreign relations, military service etc. might well show a more "conservative" lean.

Posted by: eric on March 27, 2007 7:23 AM

I know WoW players must dominate the data, but I'd like to get a sense of differences if there are any about populations across games.

Were there any correlations between political and/or religious affiliation and the choice of MMO?

Posted by: Aeco on March 27, 2007 7:30 AM

I think eric nailed it with regards to political leanings.

Younger people tend to be far more idealistic than do older folks like myself. Experience, sadly, tends to temper that idealism and turn it into a sort of, in my case, optimistic realism.

Also, not to tread on toes here, but students tend to be immersed in an almost monolithically liberal environment in schools, to the point that they might not be exposed to the conservative mindset at all, except as interpreted by their liberal teachers.

I did rather expect the survey to show more Left than Right in terms of player's leanings, but I'm more than a bit surprised by the range.

Posted by: Mustapha on March 27, 2007 9:59 AM


So if I read this all correctly... I am the youngest in my adoptive family (adopted at 6 months) Eldest in my biological family - I met them at age 21.

I am a guild leader and have been since 2002. As for political views, I am more independant, but, only in general comparison to those issues debated on the news.

Oh, I am female, and have been gaming for along time. Currently a homemaker, but when I first started gaming I was working full time until we moved.

I have a daughter, 17, who games, but only when she feels like it. She is an only child.

My husband also games, he is also the youngest in his family. He is more conservative in politics. Although his play style tends towards PvP and less towards PvE.

As for religious point of views, you might want to consider the fact that most people view their beliefs as personal and even in polls might keep their beliefs to themselves... Just a thought.

So now that I have given myself a headache, I am not sure if I have added to this discussion as much as I wanted to point out my personal experiences. :)

WoW, hordeside, F, 37

Posted by: Lisa on March 27, 2007 11:32 AM

The Eldest / Only child stat is fascinating to me. I'm an eldest (of 2) and of course, play MMOs (and answer surveys, well at least this one).

Thinking back to my own childhood, I was always the computer gamer in the family, and my sister couldn't care less. There are some environmental factors I think could be relevant:
- we are six years apart. Therefore, we did not play together very much. Besides, she was a girl :) As a result, the computer was often my "playmate". I wonder how much of the demographic has a significant gap between their next youngest sibling.
- Gaming always stimulated imagination. Before I played computer games, it was other ways of exercvising the imagination - Lego, Lincoln Blocks (I date myself), that sort of thing

This last point leads me to wonder whether there's also a correlation between playing preference (PvP / PvE, Explorer, Socializer etc) and the eldest child statistic. I would be curious to see you correlate this from your data. Are there any correspondences?

If Eldest children are more loners (they lived at least the first part of their lives as only children) while middle and younger children are more social (they always had older and later possibly younger siblings) would there be a correlation between that and playing style? (Oldest being more the explorer / solo mission type, Middle being more the High-reward achiever type, youngest being more the social type).

Fasinating stuff! Let me know if you ever dig deeper into this particular issue.


Posted by: Tom on March 27, 2007 7:16 PM

I am the youngest in my family. And i am the only one who plays computergames. I have two older sisters whereof one has a education as a programmer.
I just happened to be at the right age when MMOs became popular. My middle sister has friends who play MMOs but she has decided not to join them.

Posted by: Árni on March 28, 2007 11:41 PM

Research...too lazy to source...shows that first born males tend to be very analytical in comparison to younger siblings.

Posted by: Ethan on April 2, 2007 5:06 PM

Seems to me the difference between "oldest" and "youngest" is statistically meaningful. My wife and I both play, neither of our younger siblings play. It would be interesting to find out more about the cause of this.

I think you should be careful about "political leaning". Conservatives tend to have learned to keep their views to themselves after being shouted down in college. The statistics may reflect more about who tends to visit your site than who actually plays the games.

You should have tried correlating with faction and type of server, though.

Posted by: Warren Dew on April 5, 2007 8:51 PM

Assuming the siblings we're talking about still live in the same household, the obvious answer to me is that the oldest does whatever they want and either intimidates or physically removes the youngest from the area if the youngest is occupying space the oldest wants.

To put it in plain terms; if my little brother was on the computer and I wanted to play a game, I'd make him get off the computer so I could play.

Posted by: Lloyd on April 20, 2007 9:26 PM

It seems fairly obvious that there is a flaw in your study. What probably happened is that they looked at the question and immediately noticed the Youngest, Middle, and Oldest and didn't see or understand what Only meant. What you should do is first ask if that player is an only child (yes/no). Then, if no, ask Youngest, Middle, or Oldest.

Logically, there's absolutely nothing about being Oldest that would make them more inclined to be a WoW player and this study should roughly estimate current family statistics.

Posted by: Mekias on May 3, 2007 1:46 PM

Mekias - In the wording of the question choices, the label was "Only Child" rather than just "Only". And given that there were only 4 choices in this question (compared with 5 for most of the other questions in the surveys), it's not convincing to say they "missed" a response option.

Posted by: Nick Yee on May 3, 2007 2:10 PM

Lloyd, aren't they a little old for that? If you mean that oldest siblings play because they can remove their youngers from the physical area, I think it's a pretty weak argument. Forgetting for a moment that male players tend to be between 12 and 28 and female players between 23 and 40, the younger siblings would need to have the means to play ie. getting their hands on a credit card. At the age that I was allowed to have a credit card I was big enough to stop getting pushed around, and if someone else had paid for the account (mum, dad, whoever) then I'm sure they'd actually want me to use it.

I got into MMORPGs directly because of an elder sibling (not the oldest) who was also living at home. I highly doubt I'd have played without his introduction. I guess that offsets the prevalent aversion to following the older siblings' interests a little.

Posted by: Clare on May 6, 2007 2:02 PM

Clare, I agree the intimidation angle wears off at a certain age, but given that this survey showed 69.9% of respondents are full time students I think it may well apply to many of them.

Posted by: Lloyd on May 18, 2007 2:57 PM

Regarding religious beliefs, yeah, I'd say that's about right. I think I was one of the few people in any of the guilds I have ever been a member of who was remotely religious. As to politics, that's a little more shocking. As a liberal, I have been appalled by some of the bigotry seen from players, and I would expect people who classify themselves as 'very liberal' to be a little more open-minded.

I think it would be interesting to break down the results by game. I am playing LotRO right now, and the official Facebook group lists various religiously-themed groups related to it.

Posted by: Rob on July 2, 2007 2:50 PM

Glad I've finally found smeothnig I agree with!

Posted by: Cayle on November 23, 2011 5:33 AM
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