A multiple regression would let us tease apart the relative importance of these demographic factors (i.e., age, gender, hours played per week) as well as include motivations of play factors (i.e., achievement, social, and immersion) on the likelihood of quitting. The model that emerged showed that the relative importance of the factors goes like this:
1) Hours (b = -.17): Not surprisingly, the more a player currently plays, the less likely they will quit.
2) Social Motivation (b = -.10): What was surprising was how much the social motivations were related to likelihood of quitting. The more a player enjoyed socializing in an MMO, the less likely they will quit the game.
3) Age (b = -.08): Age comes next. As we've seen, older players are less likely to quit.
4) Achievement Motivation (b = .06): The result here is unintuitive at first. The more a player is achievement-oriented, the more likely they will quit the game. This may be due to grinding and "burning-out" factors, or that players who are goal-driven lose interest in the game once they reach their goals or if they perceive their goals to be not worth the effort.
5) Gender (b = .03): The somewhat striking gender difference in the graph above actually isn't a good predictor of whether a player will quit compared with the other factors listed here.
6) Immersion Motivation (b = .008): And finally, how much a player enjoys role-playing or exploration has no impact on their likelihood of quitting.
This set of factors implies that as a game matures, and assuming that there isn't a large constant influx of new players, the maturing player base will tend to be more socially-oriented, older, and less achievement-oriented. It'll be interesting to see this in an actual game with longitudinal data.
"Social Motivation (b = -.10): What was surprising was how much the social motivations were related to likelihood of quitting. The more a player enjoyed socializing in an MMO, the less likely they will quit the game."
Personally, I don't find that suprising. I play Co(H/V), and I know a lot of people who say they're mainly sticking with the game because of it's great community. I myself am currently playing DDO, but keeping my Co(H/V) subscription active just for the ability to post on the official forums (And for the veteran reward system and occasional raids, but those aren't a significant reason)
extreme/sudden external factors have some influence on the chance of a person quitting.
for instance, when a person's character account has been hacked and been divested of equipments and credits/money, or even the character/avatar being deleted from existance may prompt a player never to return again.
devotion to social and real life responsibilities (e.g. a student fails a class thus sacrifices game time for studying, or having a family or a full time job) can also contribute to players quitting.
The social aspect didn't surprise me either. I once stuck with an MMO for over two years only because I liked the community and my guild so much. The game itself I actually quite disliked, even after only a month or 3.
I'm 31 and I just quit WoW. Even though I invested way too much time on my level 70 priest, the game became too much of a timesink for someone like me, married and with a 18 month child. I used to raid a lot before, but I realized how much time I was dedicating to it and decided to cut it altogether. In short, I can't schedule my life around a guild's raiding schedule.
You have a lot of topics, so I may have missed this, but is there a clear correlation between how long people stay and % mix of activities?
One commenter said "In short, I can't schedule my life around a guild's raiding schedule."
I've done about a raid a year, and less than an instance a week because after having 55+ hours/week tightly scheduled (counting commuting), racing the clock, and adjusting promptly to others schedules and actions (incoming traffic just ran the red light!) I often don't feel like spending more hours on tightly scheduled time-sensitive ideas.
While I don't have kids, the crowd I do spend time with has a substantial representation of parents, -- it's a rare evening that we finish a quest without needing to find a good stopping point for Daddy or Mommy duty intermission, so our activities have been selected for time-flexible pastimes.
Short quests, fishing, chatting in inns and towns (IC and OOC), touristing (including IC pilgramage to things like Grom Helscream's monument).
But I ramble. Returning I'd be interested in what activities go with looooong term sticking around -- and expect the answer is "It varies!"
I agree with the time sink/time available points. I'm not married and don't have kids, but I'm trying to work through grad school against a job that puts me on the road quite a bit (two weeks out of very month for the next 5 months alone), that and having a social life outside of the game has taken its toll. I can't compete with the "hardcore" crowd in WoW anymore, and if I have one weekend to play for a month, you can bet I don't want to spend it mining or skinning.
I recently quit WoW. I have 2 sons, one being 9 years old. In the two years of playing I have to say in all honesty that my real life commitments suffered and it's only now that I realise this.
Virtual gains are NOT important, many people plaaying MMO's fail to see this, hence the amount of gold/isk/ingame tender website you now see everywhere.
A few people said something that I think is telling of one of the reasons people quit. They want to "keep up with the Jones". Then when they discover they don't want to spend the time it takes, they divest themselves entirely of the game. They begin to treat the game as a way to show their superiority over other players and become insecure when this is no longer possible. I'm not casting stones, just making an observation.
As an example:
"Virtual gains are not important."
Of course they aren't important in the real world. Why did you think they were? Games are made for the enjoyment of the users, that should be the core motivation of any player of any game. Whether the player enjoys the social aspect, raiding, theorycrafting, RP, organization, etc. Gold buying/selling websites are a way that players can translate some of they real world time spent into game time spent to heighten their enjoyment. It is only when you start treating the game like a job that this starts to look like a problem.
If you doubt that is the concern of at least some of the people you are quitting, go take a look at the WoW forums. For whatever they are worth, they indicate that many "casual" gamers are quitting because they can't (or choose not to) achieve the same rewards that someone who spends more time might achieve. Of course, giving in to their demands would be suicide for a game company, as Nick's data shows that those that spend more time, stick around longer as customers.
Choices are a concept we've lost sight of in these times. We view ourselves too often as victims of our surroundings and often believe that we are helpless to change. As opposed to realizing that we could choose to change our circumstances, as long as we accept the consequences of those choices. I bring that up mostly because I think it is the root of many quitters woes.
I don't know if it is possible to create a social environment without some group becoming upset that they don't have everything that another group has. Maybe that is just a feature of human interaction. I'll leave that to someone smarter than me to determine.
I just recently quit WoW, and it was entirely because of the people I was playing with. The guild I had joined had long ago allied itself with other guilds, and over time a division had grown up between those of us who were fairly hardcore and knew what we were doing versus the people who expected us to take them with us to the endgame because "I'm in the guild, too!"
That, and because I wanted to try to whip people into shape and get things movin' in a positive direction (e.g., specialized groups by skill, set rosters, loot division for the good of the group) I got roasted pretty regularly to the point I couldn't even say something NICE without getting flamed on the boards. I finally had enough of paying $15/mo to be abused by people I didn't even like that much, and quit. Now I have a Wii, and they can piss up a rope ;)
I've been playing wow for quite a few months now, probably close to a year. Personally, the only reason I can see for quitting would be financial. The way I see it, if I have enough money to spend on the fee, why get rid of my account? I have put a ton of time into getting my character up to a high level. If my RL responsibilities demand more time, I just have to take time off from playing the game. If my wow friends can't understand that I have RL needs and responsibilities, then they aren't people who's opinions I need to sweat over. I just don't see how in the near future I will be able to let go of my account. If anything, I see myself getting more and more characters. Everyone needs to take breaks from the game. I know people who literally play wow more than I work in RL. I've been there too, where I was playing insane amounts of time. I try not to do marathon game sessions anymore. Oh, and as one commenter discussed already, the most important thing... I really enjoy playing.
Interesting, I wonder if this is just a human aspect when it comes to social organizations. This sounds just like a RL bowling league. The demographics (generally older women; in mixed-leagues anyway), the reasons for quitting (I can't reach the skill of 'X'; I can't stand everybody else not pulling their weight; I have a life outside of this league; I've met my goals), and the reasons for staying (the socializing; I've put so much into this) is so in line with the MMO stats that it's worth mentioning.
"If you doubt that is the concern of at least some of the people you are quitting, go take a look at the WoW forums. For whatever they are worth, they indicate that many "casual" gamers are quitting because they can't (or choose not to) achieve the same rewards that someone who spends more time might achieve. Of course, giving in to their demands would be suicide for a game company, as Nick's data shows that those that spend more time, stick around longer as customers."
Not at all true. This ignores the incredibly important fact that the hardcore players/long-term subscribers are a vanishingly small percentage of the overall playerbase. We don't have an exact number, but if you do actually read WoW-related forums, you've seen the statistics thrown around about how many people actually run the hardest/largest raids: 5%? 2%? A fraction of a percent? Out of 8 million people, it's negligible. "Casual" players make up the vast bulk of WoW subscribers. If we are talking sheer economics, THAT is the demographic the company should bow to. Astonishingly, Blizzard has resisted this for quite some time, and now we can see their market share finally hitting saturation and beginning the long decline--do the math.
You can't market a game to a certain demographic, then turn around and cater to some elite niche of your customer base while neglecting the majority, and expect to retain players. Churn and burnout have been gnawing away at the playerbase for a long time, but the major factor IMO is that the worthy alternative MMORPGs are being released: LotRO for casual PvE/RP, Conan this fall for dark PvP/PvE, and next year Warhammer, the most ambitious PvP game we've seen for a while.
Compare to the dearth of competition WoW has faced in the past two years...EQ2? Vanguard? *crickets*
I have quit games due to grinding requirements and boredom. Social played a small aspect but as I have my own ts server and all my online buddies emails, I have always managed to keep in touch with my friends no matter what. Currently I am bored with the genre of "Fantasy" games and truly prefer Sci-Fi and anything else "new". I started EVE online and I love it. I am achievement oriented, always chasing a goal, and a game that gives me several long term, difficult goals to reach is the one I will be sticking with. Why be bored? Again, my main reasons for walking: Grinding and boredom. They need to enrich games with more dynamic environs, give us lots of avenues to go down, and some longterm goals to achieve.