Prior Gaming Experiences

For how many MMO players is their current MMO their first real video gaming experience, or is it more likely the case that MMO players have extensive prior experiences with video games? Players were asked about their prior experiences with other genres of video games as well as how often they played video games before their current MMO.

There were sharp gender differences with responses to both questions. Male players are more likely to have been avid gamers prior to their current MMO, while female players are more likely to have had less prior experience with video games in general.


When asked to indicate their favorite gaming genre prior to playing MMOs, most players choose role-playing games (RPG), first-person shooters (FPS), and real-time strategy games (RTS). Male players were more likely to prefer FPS and RTS gamers, while female players were more likely to prefer RPG, city building simulations (SIM) and card or parlor games (CARD). In the graph below, the response options for driving and flight simulations, adventure games, and puzzle games received few responses and are omitted for clarity.


Respondents were also asked about their experiences with MUDs/MOOs as well as table-top role-playing games.

Of all respondents (N = 1911), 54% have had experiences with MUDs/MOOs. Among those who have had MUD/MOO experiences, most of those experiences were rated as brief. Female players were more likely to have had more extensive experiences with MUDs/MOOs.


With regards to table-top role-playing games, 75% of respondents replied that they have had experiences with them. Among those who have had experiences with table-top RPGs, male players were more likely to have had extensive experiences with table-top RPGs.

Experience with table-top RPGs is most likely among those who are currently between 29 - 35 of age - people who would have been teenagers in the 80s when D&D was popularized (and then demonized).

The overall pattern that emerges is that even though male players have slightly more experience with video gaming than female players, overall, current MMO players seem to have a fairly substantial background in games that were the predecessors of MMOs - i.e., table-top RPGs and MUDs/MOOs. In other words, it seems that MMOs were more of a logical next-step for many current MMO gamers than a truly new kind of activity.