Professor given $100,000 to study World of Warcraft; Survey says MMO players aren't fat

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bonnie-nardi.jpgPictured left is Prof. Bonnie Nardi, one of the luckiest ladies alive. The National Science Foundation in the USA has decided to grant her $100,000 of American taxpayer’s money to study World of Warcraft. Or, to be specific, why Americans make more modifications to the game than Chinese players do. Gosh, that’s a lot of money.

The Professor, who has already studied how the Chinese play the MMO, said:

“We are examining the many reasons for this disparity, including cultural and institutional factors. The vast majority of Chinese players are not ‘gold farmers’… They’re ordinary players like anyone. The media has blown that story out of all proportion. Many people think Chinese play for a job. They play for fun…”

“[The] Chinese have invented some interesting ways to play with the in-game economy… Ways that I have not observed here in two years of studying ‘World of Warcraft.’ Chinese players are more attuned to the aesthetics of the game… They talked more about color schemes, animations, architecture, and so on more than American players…”

“Here and in Europe and Australia/New Zealand people play with parents and event grandparents. Not in China. The older generation dislikes video games. People here play with brothers and sisters. But in China people don’t have brothers and sisters for the most part, so friend relationships are very important.”

I’ll say it again – Gosh, that’s a lot of money.

While we’re discussing MMOs, a survey has found that the genre’s gamers aren’t fat. Yes, it’s real money going into these surveys. Research teams surveyed 7,000 Everquest II players about their physical and mental health:

“The results suggest that adult gamers have an average body mass index of 25.2, compared to the overall American average of 28. The average gamer also engages in vigorous exercise once or twice a week, which the researchers say is more than most Americans. The reasons for this are not obvious, although the team suggest it may be because more educated, wealthier people are attracted to computer games, and these people also tend to take better care of their health.”

“The downside, however, was that the gamers reported more cases of depression and substance abuse than their compatriots. “They may be drawn to use the game to help deal with emotional distress,” says team member Scott Caplan of the University of Delaware.”

The survey also revealed that the stereotype of young male gamers is inaccurate. Most EQII players are older and fewer were male than expected.

World of Warcraft & Everquest II (via GamePolitics articles)

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Duncan Geere

2 comments

  • This is the kind of story that, given our government just mortgaged itself yet again to paper over it’s foul-ups by buying an insurance company for the low-low price of $85 billion, someone will surely make a stink of, fair or not.

    I, however, plan to make an intensive comparative study of naughty internet sites based on a number of sociological variable. If anyone from the NSF is reading, please send your $100K checks to….

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