Data on Player Life-Cycles
When players were asked what stage they were currently in, the data found that the largest portion of players considered themselves to be playing at a Casual stage. What is not clear at the moment (and certainly something to explore in future research) is what proportion of these players at the Casual stage have recovered from the Burn Out stage and what proportion have jumped here from the Ramping Up stage (or any stage before Burn Out). Indeed, while there is a loose assumption of going from one stage to the next, it is likely that some players jump from Ramping Up to Burning Out (among other jumps).
While it may at first be surprising to see so many players classify themselves in the Casual stage, there are reasons this may be the case. From the player narratives in the earlier study, there was a sense of inevitability of burning out once ramping up had begun. Players seemed to inevitably hit a threshold where additional advancement required an effort that became more tedious than fun. Thus, in long-running MMOs like WoW, the majority of players who have been playing for more than 1 or 2 years must therefore have found a way to get off the grind path and still enjoy the game in a more casual play style.
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