Advertisement

Entrapment and Near Miss: A Comparative Analysis of Psycho-Structural Elements in Gambling Games and Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games

  • Faltin Karlsen
Article

Abstract

While massively multiplayer online role-playing games like World of Warcraft are often accused of leading to excessive and harmful playing, the only gaming activity that is internationally recognized as a pathological disorder is excessive gambling. The present article seeks to establish empirical data on potential harmful online gaming through a comparative structural analysis of massively multiplayer online games and gambling games. The analysis focuses on some of the psycho-structural elements that contribute to excessive gambling, with a special emphasis on the phenomena known as entrapment and near miss. The analysis is based on interviews with twelve heavy users of World of Warcraft and ethnographical observations from the game. The findings suggest that entrapment and near miss are present in World of Warcraft, but with a comparatively weaker impact, and influenced by other elements more typical of this genre, including social engagement and competition. These elements might overall have a stronger effect on the dedication to play excessively.

Keywords

Addiction Entrapment Gambling MMORPGs Near miss 

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders DSM-IV. Washington: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
  2. Bartle, R. A. (1996). Hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades: players who suit MUDs. retrieved from http://www.mud.co.uk/richard/hcds.htm.
  3. Bartle, R. (2003). Designing virtual worlds. Indianapolis: New Riders.Google Scholar
  4. Castronova, E. (2005). Synthetic worlds: The business and culture of online games. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  5. Czerny, E., Koenig, S., & Turner, N. E. (2008). Exploring the mind of the gambler: Psychological aspects of gambling and problem gambling. In Z. Massod, A. Blaszczynski, & N. E. Turner (Eds.), In the pursuit of winning: Problem gambling theory, research and treatment. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  6. Dickerson, M., & O’Connor, J. (2006). Gambling as an addictive behaviour: Impaired control, harm minimisation, treatment and prevention. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ducheneaut, N., Yee, N., Nickell, E., & Moore, R. J. (2006). Alone together? Exploring the social dynamic of massively multiplayer online games. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Games (pp. 407–416). Montréal, Québec, Canada.Google Scholar
  8. Fairfield, J., & Castronova, E. (2006). Dragon kill points: A summary whitepaper. Rational Models Seminar. University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  9. Fisher, S., & Griffiths, M. (1995). Current trends in slot machine gambling: research and policy issues. Journal of Gambling Studies, 11, 239–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Griffiths, M. D. (1991). Amusement machine playing in childhood and adolescence: a comparative analysis of video games and fruit machines. Journal of Adolescence, 14, 53–73.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Griffiths, M. (1999). The psychology of the near miss (revisited): a comment on Delfabbro and Winefield. British Journal of Psychology, 90, 441–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Griffiths, M., & Davies, M. N. O. (2005). Video-game addiction: Does it exist? In J. Goldstein & J. Raessens (Eds.), Handbook of computer game studies (pp. 359–268). Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  13. Kahneman, D., Tversky, A., & Slovic, P. (1982). Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Karlsen, F. (2004). Media complexity and diversity of use: Thoughts on a taxonomy of users of multiuser online games. Proceedings, Miguel Sicart & Jonas Heide Smith (Eds.) Other Players, Copenhagen: IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark.Google Scholar
  15. Karlsen, F. (2008a). Quests in context: a comparative analysis of discworld and world of warcraft. Game Studies. Google Scholar
  16. Karlsen, F. (2008b). High-end gaming in world of warcraft. The 13th conference for Norwegian media researchersi. Norway: Lillehammer.Google Scholar
  17. Karlsen, F. (2009). Emergent perspectives on multiplayer online games: A study of discworld and world of warcraft. PhD thesis at Department of Media and Communication, Oslo: University of Oslo.Google Scholar
  18. Kendall, L. (2002). Hanging out in the virtual pub: Masculines and relationships online. California: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  19. King, D., Delfabbro, P., & Griffiths, M. (2009). Video game structural characteristics: A new psychological taxonomy. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction.Google Scholar
  20. Linderoth, J., & Bennerstedt, U. (2007). Living in world of warcraft—The thoughts and experiences of ten young people. In The Swedish Media Council (Ed.).Google Scholar
  21. Livingstone, C., & Woolley, R. (2008). The relevance and role of gaming machine games and game features on the play of problem gamblers. Report for the independent gambling authority South Australia.Google Scholar
  22. Mandal, V. P., & Doelen, C. V. (1999). Chasing lightning: Gambling in Canada. Toronto: United Church Publishing House.Google Scholar
  23. Mortensen, T. E. (2003). Pleasures of the player: flow and control in online games’ PhD thesis at department of humanistic informatics faculty of media and journalism, Volda: Volda University College.Google Scholar
  24. Rettberg, J. W. (2008). Quests in world of warcraft: Deferral and repetition. In J. W. Rettberg & G. H. Corneliussen (Eds.), Digital Culture, Play and Identity: A World of Warcraft Reader. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  25. Rogers, P. (1998). The cognitive psychology of lottery gambling: A theoretical review. Journal of Gambling Studies, 14, 111–34.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Spunt, B., Dupont, I., Lesieur, H., Liberty, H. J., & Hunt, D. (1998). Pathological gambling and substance misuse: A review of the literature. Substance Use and Misuse, 33, 2535–2560.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sullivan, A. (2009). Gender-inclusive quest design in massively multiplayer online role-playing games. in Foundations of digital games doctoral consortium. Florida.Google Scholar
  28. Taylor, T. L. (2003). Power gamers just want to have fun?: instrumental play In A MMOG. in 1st Digra Conference: Level Up, The University of Utrecht.Google Scholar
  29. Taylor, T. L. (2006). Play between worlds: Exploring online game culture. London: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  30. Turner, N. E. (2008). Games, gambling, and gambling problems. In M. Zangeneh, A. Blaszczynski, & N. E. Turner (Eds.). In the pursuit of winning: Problem gambling theory, research and treatment.Google Scholar
  31. Turner, N., & Horbay, R. (2004). How do slot machines and other electronic gambling machines actually work? Journal of Gambling Issues.Google Scholar
  32. Walker, M. B. (1992). The psychology of gambling. Oxford: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  33. Walker, M., Schellink, T., & Anjoul, F. (2008). Explaining why people gamble. In M. Zangeneh, A. Blaszczynski, & N. E. Turner (Eds.), In the pursuit of winning: Problem gambling theory, research and treatment. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  34. Wan, C.-S., & Chiou, W.-B. (2006). Why are adolescents addicted to online gaming? An interview study in Taiwan. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 9, 762–67.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Yee, N. (2006). The trouble with addiction. in The deadalus project: http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus.
  36. Yee, N. (2007). Motivations of play in online games. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 9, 772–775.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Norwegian School of Information TechnologyOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations