Learning Life Lessons

Anecdotal and quantitative data seemed to suggest that many players felt they were learning important life lessons from MMORPGs. Several questions were included in a recent survey to explore this aspect in more depth. The following graphs show age and gender differences among respondents who used the top two of the seven agreement rating points, labeled from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree. So the 45.5% at the top right of the first graph means that 45.5% of female players over the age of 35 strongly agreed that important life lessons can be learned in MMORPGs.

Both the gender and age differences are quite striking in that they are either non-linear or only affect one gender. In the first graph, younger players tend to feel that important life lessons can be learned in MMORPGs, but for female players, this sentiment rebounds with age while it declines among male players. In the second graph, about one-third of female players across all ages feel that their MMORPG experiences have helped them grow as a person whereas among male players, this sentiment declines significantly with age.

Multiple regression analyses were performed on both data sets using the demographics, motivations and personality factors as independent variables.

The multiple regression results showed that the motivation to socialize within the game was the best predictor of whether a player felt they were learning important life lessons or achieved personal growth from the game. To ensure that this result wasn’t merely due to the covariance of gender and score on the "social" motivation, the multiple regression was repeated with only the male players. The coefficients for the "social" motivation were almost exactly the same, .26 and .27 respectively. In fact, the coefficients for the "social" motivation were weaker when the multiple regression was done only with female players, .20 and .20 respectively.