Love is in the Air

We hear a lot of anecdotes of players who met their romantic partners in an MMO, but how prevalent is this? In a recent survey, I asked players about their experiences in a variety of courtship stages to get a general idea about the prevalence of romance in MMOs.

Many players have at one point or another flirted with another player. About 80% of female players and 60% of male players have flirted with another player. There were almost no age differences except for the lower rate of flirtation among male players in the 12-17 range.

About 50% of female players and 22% of male players have developed romantic feelings for another player. These percentages largely did not change with age. Players from 12 - 40 and above were just as likely to develop romantic feelings for another player.


About 40% of female players and 15% of male players have told another player about their romantic feelings for them. Again, we see very few age differences.

And finally, about 29% of female players and 8% of male players have physically dated someone who they first met in an MMO. Again, it's hard to discern a strong age difference. Both these percentages feel very high, and the only other data point I have comes from the 2000 survey on EQ players, where the corresponding numbers were 15% and 3% (so almost double of what was found 6 years ago). Now, the other thing may just be that the survey respondents are skewed towards more involved players who are thus more likely to report relationships. So I tried to see if the likelihood of physically dating someone increased dramatically with hours played per week. The correlation came out at r = .07, not strong enough to have a dramatic effect. In other words, even if heavy time involvement was a general sampling bias among the respondents, it has only a mild impact on these particular percentages.

Question for readers: Do you know anyone who is dating (or has dated) someone they first met in an MMO? If you've played MMOs for a few years, have you noticed an increase in these kinds of relationships?

Note: If you've physically dated someone who you first met in an MMO, please consider taking some time to tell me about your experience in this survey.