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MSNBC on Gamers: "these are the weirdos that you already knew"

February 24, 2009

Grrrrrrr…very few things get my blood boiling than the assumption that all online gamers are weirdos.

“But Kim,” you say, “they’re not really calling you weirdos…you’re being too sensitive!”

But the research shows that the Internet — and online games — are used mostly as a way to stay in touch with friends and family.

“These aren’t necessarily the new weirdos, these are the weirdos that you already knew,” says Williams, who is an assistant professor of communications at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School.

That’s Dmitri Williams, one of the investigators of a study funded by National Science Foundation and the Army Research Institute. Sony Online let these people access 7,000 EverQuest II (which MSNBC typo’d as “EveryQuest II” – I typo too from time to time, but these people are paid to write properly.) player logs for this study. (Read your EULAs!) They paired the logs with an optional survey of these 7,000 players.



By the way, the National Science Foundation received $2,500,000,000 of our taxpayer money as part of the recently-passed stimulus bill. So they can study more gamers!

What else does Dmitri have to say?

Williams says that while there are more men playing than women, women are the hardcore players. “That, to me, was a definite myth buster,” he says. “And then the other weird finding, that the players were healthy.”

(sorry, was taking a DingDong and Mountain Dew break and being a weirdo)

After a brief bit about how players on RolePlaying servers tend to suffer from depression more than their non-RP counterparts, the story finishes with this:

But on a less ambitious level, the study should be reassuring for anyone who fears that online gaming is something exotic or vastly different than real life. Online games, Contractor says, are really proving to be an extension of our offline lives, not a replacement for them.

Which is a wonderful and valid point and one I try to make constantly to anyone who holds a negative opinion of gamers.

I just wish they didn’t have to call us weirdos and express SHOCK that we’re actually healthy to come to that conclusion.

Let’s make a deal, Dmitiri & friends: don’t judge all gamers by the few oddballs that the media likes to cover, and I won’t judge all “investigators” by the few who can’t think of a better word than “weirdo” to use in an interview.

This Julia Sugarbaker moment brought to you by: Online gamers keep it local, says new study – On the Level-

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Cosmo the Fallacy permalink
    February 24, 2009 6:08 pm

    As an unhealthy wierdo, I definitely take issue with the supposition that ALL gamers are not exactly like me!

    I am representative of my demographic!

  2. February 24, 2009 9:11 pm

    You’re not a …. You’re pretty healt….

    Ladies and Gentlemen, my guild leader, the unhealthy weirdo!


    (ugh..did some RP there…now I’m depressed.)

  3. Crowley permalink
    February 25, 2009 12:20 am

    There are two things in this world:
    1) People who generalize
    2) People who don’t generalize

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