back to article Gamers not social misfits, after all

It's official - gamers are not socially inept, even those who arguably spend far too much time with in front of the screen, joypad in hand. That's the key finding of a research programme into so-called problem gaming conducted by Victoria University psychology Honours graduate Dan Loton. Loton wanted to investigate gaming …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Hardly conclusive

    Surely all the "problem gamers" stayed home playing games instead of doing a survey...?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    MMO's most likely...

    With Eve Online bingt he worst of the lot. At one point I had 5 accounts and stayed up 2 1/2 days grinding a broken officer spawn. Good days good days.

    My addiction to MMO's actually helped me to quit smoking. And when I quit Eve I started smokingagain.

  3. Daniel Voyce


    This article is clearly incorrect, everyone wants to be like FPS Doug - FACT!

  4. Dave S

    World of World of Warcraft

    An excellent news report can be found on The Onion relating to this.....

  5. Anonymous Coward


    Wouldn't the _REAL_ problem gamers have ignored this survey as they were too busy gaming?

    And how can you do a survey with AUSTRALIANS and then compare the results with real people.

    I don't have a coat because I never go out.

  6. Ash

    Dumb comment

    "We found that those who played Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs), such as World of Warcraft, were more likely to exhibit problematic game play,"

    So, a game which requires you to pay a monthly subscription which expires even if you DON'T play entices people to play more often than a game you buy outright and isn't time-limited?

    Say, it ain't so, Doc!

    Still, I played WoW, now play Age of Conan, and I've plenty of time for far more socially acceptable passtimes, like binge drinking, urinating on dying pensioners, and starving children to death in a basement.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gamers not social misfits

    The comments section of any El Reg article about PS3 or 360 would tend to disagree with that conclusion...

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Lets face facts

    a. All Aussies are social retards.

    b. True gamers wouldn't answer a questionaire unless they get the Sword of Ashwarn or a PowerPack upgrade in return.

    c. The guy should be getting a real job rather than scrounge off the state doing stupid questionaires that no one probably cares about. Oh that's right. He can't get a job because he studied psychology instead of getting a proper qualification like engineering.

    (unemployable) Nerd alert

  9. Simon C

    Gamers have never been an unsociable kind....

    The stereotype comes from society majeure being unable to relate to gamers and thus deemed THEM unsociable.

    Now that gaming is becoming more mainstream, it is starting to be seen as more socially acceptable and so the stereotype is waning.

    Additionally, surely 50 hours playing OFFLINE games would constitue someone more socially inept with addiction problems than someone playing 50 hours ONLINE.

    The geeky image is drawing to a close, now all we need to do is work out how to go out in the sun without burning to a crisp, and to sample the air around us without developing several forms of allergies.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    "We found that those who played Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs), such as World of Warcraft, were more likely to exhibit problematic game play,"

    That is because every other type of game you can Pause or Save your progress and log out without consequence and pick up where you were later on. Play wow and you need about 4 hours on an evening to raid or pvp you don't keep it up you fall behind in either Arena standings or DKP. (and when your not raiding your farming consumables and gold for repair bills)

    Everything in these games is designed to take too much time to complete because the hardcore nerds will always play the max amount of time possible to get ahead of other players so they can brag.

    Stay away from these types of games, and whatever you do do not become a Main Tank and/or a Guildmaster like me, it practically makes the game a second job when everyone starts relying on you.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Two things spring to mind

    Firstly, could the real "Problem gamers" be too busy grinding away at WoW to fill in a survey?

    Secondly "That appears to contradict the volume of anecdotal evidence from online forums that a fair few gamers spend far too much time online" Wouldn't this count as a online gamers version of boasting about how many pints they can drink and birds they've shagged?

    "Yeah mate, I had 20 pints(Goblins), then shagged Paris(got a shiny sword), took me 20 hours (until mummy said it was bedtime).

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Misread the headline...

    I misread the headline as Germans, not Gamers. Disappointed to find that the real story wasn't quite as controversial.

  13. Geoff Mackenzie

    You know, that matches up with my experience

    I play no games, and am totally antisocial.

  14. Andy Bright

    Resistance is futile

    What I've found with WoW is that as often as not it was the wife or girlfriend playing WoW that convinced her boyfriend / husband to start playing too.

    I reckon this is probably a first. Stat heavy games like RPGs haven't traditionally appealed to non-geeks, and I believe it has much to do with the cartoon look and feel of WoW. The cute graphics suck in the non-nerdy men and women, who then become addicted to the progression of their characters. Trying to explain why you need to get "just one more level" or explaining why upgrading your character's imaginary armour and weapons is so addictive isn't something I can do.

    But the fact is game producers have known and used these things for decades, and they're the reason why games like this haven't necessarily needed the best graphics or even a creative plot to sell in large numbers.

    The trick has always been finding out a way to suck in the non-nerds and the female half of the population. WoW has somehow managed to do this, and everyone should be afraid. Won't be long now before just about no one except Blizzard employees are doing any sort of work at all.

    I feel as though some sort of Douglas Adams style apocalypse is about to take place, with Blizzard employees checking on humanity, making sure they're seated correctly for gaming and handing out lemon-soaked paper napkins and biscuits to keep their subscribers alive.

  15. Kevin

    Re: Non-reponse Bias

    All you people saying the survey is flawed because real gamers wouldn't take time to fill it out need to take some statistics classes. I could be wrong, but I doubt a Psychology graduate student would dive into a survey without considering the various forms of bias and either compensating for them or declaring them.

    As for the article, I don't think it's very surprising. I think gaming attracts social misfits, but I don't think gaming creates them. Everyone I know has played a video game at some point in their life and the ones that play 50+ hours a week probably come to the logical conclusion that the alternative that supposedly makes you socially sound is not nearly as entertaining (i.e. hanging out, IMing about the latest gossip, watching reruns of Gilmore Girls...) as blowing zombie's heads off.

  16. Graham Marsden

    All I can say is...

    ... Eat plasma death you repulsive alien wierdos!

  17. Jack

    Why no "Television Addiction" study?

    I find it interesting that first with "Internet Addiction" and now with "Game Addiction", that they talk about 30 hours a week spent at these things as potentially unhealthy, yet never there's never any talk of "Television Addiction", where the vast majority of people spend at least 30 hours a week, on their asses, glued to the screen.

  18. Steve Roper
    Thumb Up

    Re: Why no "Television Addiction" study?

    This actually was an issue during the '70s and '80s when the "addiction is bad m'kay" crowd did a series of studies into the effects of TV on children of the day (which included myself at the time!)

    I would actually say that TV is worse than either Internet or gaming, since the latter two at least require some interaction on your part, and gets you to actually use your brain in communication and problem-solving activities. Contrast this to TV, where the viewer simply sits passively and is force-fed information without any action on the viewer's part. Given the choice, if I had kids I'd far rather they spent 4 hours a day playing WoW than spend the time glued to The Box being stuffed with advertising and media propaganda.

  19. alphaxion


    actually, we still see "telly bad for us" and "telly rotting childrens minds" or the occasional "telly creates sociopathic maniacs" after a trail of 30 bodies all with tellytubby shaped holes in their stomachs and pictures of mr blobby stapled to their foreheads is discovered.

    As a veteren of many LAN parties over the past decade, I can agree that gamers are very sociable creatures since most lan parties are just an excuse to get blind drunk and try to play *any* game to any profiency whilst in such a state.

    It's just cause mundanes don't understand us that they label us as problematic.. I'm yet to meet a hardcore gamer that randomly walks up to people and abuses/kicks the crap out of them for being different (beating them in a game is a different matter ;) )

  20. punks unite
    Thumb Down


    Very true. Some people watch TV to unwind, i play Eve. If I have 5 hours a night to play, I will, if I have 12-14 hours on a saturday to play, i will. However, I also go to the pub 2-3 times a week, work full time, and maintane a healthy relationship with my better half.

    People around me sometimes tell me I game too much, to which I simply reply at least I'm excercising my brain rather than having it pumped full of mindless garbage. I'm not sure why someone who spends most of there free time online is considered to have a problem, whilst people that spend the same amount of time watching TV are "normal".

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    I would say spending 50 hours a week playing games is significantly more social, than sitting watching 50 hours a week of the retards in the Big Brother House...

    Paris... actually, no thats just way too easy... (like Paris is lol)

  22. Louis Cowan
    Thumb Up

    Wow addiction

    I'll admit it, I was a wow addict. Going cold turkey from this game was one of the hardest things I ever did - I wouldn't say I was a hardcore addict, but maybe 3/4 nights a week I would spend anything between 3 and 6 hours on it. It got to the point where my relationship with my missus, my diet, my work and even my health were suffering and it was very hard to admit to myself that the cause of these problems was the game.

    Saying that, I agree with the above poster, "Jack" - games take more heat from the media than television does. They'll shriek like banshees when some criminal act is committed by a gamer, but will quite happily air shows like Dexter which shows pretty horrific scenes of mutilation.

    From my time in Wow I met a few pretty cool people, and even travelled down to London to meet up with them. This game actually acted as social lubrication; how anyone can suggest that gamers are social misfits is beyond me.

  23. D
    Paris Hilton

    The bar seems pretty high on this one

    I admit that I've played over 48 hours myself straight through, but I did recognise it as an unhealthy practice and nearly got me dumped. Anyone spending more than 20 hours a week at an absolute maximum is in serious need of a life, by the time it gets to 50 they're beyond help.

    Paris, because if you spend 50+ hours a week gaming, watching her online videos will be the nearest you get to having a girlfriend

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