Date: 20 Feb 2009

Excessive use of Massively Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Games: A Pilot Study

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Abstract

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are one of the most interesting innovations in the area of online computer gaming. This pilot study set out to examine the psychological and social effects of online gaming using an online questionnaire with particular reference to excessive and ‘dependent’ online gaming. A self-selecting sample of 119 online gamers ranging from 18 to 69 years (mean = 28.5 years) completed the questionnaire. The results showed that 41% of gamers played online to escape and 7% of gamers were classified as ‘dependent’ individuals who were at risk of developing a psychological and behavioural dependence for online gaming using an adapted ‘addiction’ scale. Further analysis showed that excessive online gaming was significantly correlated with psychological and behavioural ‘dependence’. It was also found that ‘dependent’ gamers appear to possess some core components of addiction to MMORPGs (e.g., mood modification, tolerance and relapse).