EverQuest—It’s Just a Computer Game Right? An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Online Gaming Addiction
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- Chappell, D., Eatough, V., Davies, M.N.O. et al. Int J Ment Health Addiction (2006) 4: 205. doi:10.1007/s11469-006-9028-6
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Over the last few years there has been an increasing interest in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). These represent the latest Internet-only computer gaming experience consisting of a multi-player universe with an advanced and detailed world. One of the most popular (and largest) of these is Everquest. The data for this study were taken from a range of online gaming forums where individuals shared their experiences of playing EverQuest. Data were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), a method for analyzing qualitative data and meaning making activities. The study presents an IPA account of online gamers who perceive themselves to play excessively. The aim of the study was to examine how individuals perceived and made sense of EverQuest in the context of their lives. It is clear that the accounts presented by players and ex-players appear to be ‘addicted’ to EverQuest in the same way that other people become addicted to alcohol or gambling. Most of the individuals in this study appear to display (or allude to) the core components of addiction such as salience, mood modification, tolerance, conflict, withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and relapse.