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

  • Faltin Karlsen


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.


Addiction Entrapment Gambling MMORPGs Near miss 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Norwegian School of Information TechnologyOsloNorway

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