This study investigates the problems associated with online gaming and why internet gaming companies need to curtail the time spent by gamers online to at least a three hour period. In order to do this it will consider the results of two surveys. The two surveys found that individuals spent an inordinate amount of time online and thus are susceptible to the adverse effects of online gaming. Introduction Back in 2005 a man of 28 years of age collapsed and died of exhaustion in an internet cafe in South Korea. Lee died from playing a game of Starcraft online non-stop for fifty hours.
He stayed in the internet cafe for three days stopping only for short naps and toilet breaks. According to the newspapers which reported his death, the man had been fired from his job because he spent too much time playing video games (BBC News). While some people may consider this to be an isolated incident, they have perhaps not taken the fact into account that both gaming addiction and internet addiction are real psychological diseases and they can severely affect not only the individuals themselves, but also their loved ones and even society as well.
This paper will discuss the problems associated with online gaming and why internet gaming companies need to curtail the time spent by gamers online to at least a three hour period. It will also provide two surveys to show the validity of this thesis. What are Online Games? First it is important to know what exactly online games actually are. Online games are not a separate genre of games, rather they merely employ a form of technology which allows gamers to be networked and play multiplayer games.
This medium has gained great popularity since the inception of the internet, however the existence of multiplayer has existed since the early 90s when a game known as Doom made it popular using the death match style of play. Today there are several ways that people play online some which require the internet and some which do not. When we speak of the way online games do not require the internet we are of course speaking of games on a local area network. This is when a series of computers are connected to each other to allow for multiplayer games.
When we speak of gaming on the internet online games can be in three forms. One is as a separate part of single player games which takes the gaming engine online to play with other players. The second is browser games which employ the use of Java or Flash and can include games which allow you to gamble. The third and final type is massively multiplayer role playing games. While it is true that LAN games are not governed by any gaming company per say, the other three types mentioned are part of an incredibly popular and growing industry.
A survey conducted on the amount of time spent by eight grade students playing video games found that 90% of boys and 66% of girls played video games at home or at another location (Jeanne B. Funk). Another study has shown that gamers can spend as much as 10 to 15 hours a day playing MMORPGs. In a detailed survey of 540 gamers, it was found that they spent more than 80 hours a week playing games which amounts to at least 11. 5 hours a day spent gaming (BBC News). The reasons given behind the fact that these games are played for such long periods of time are due to the social aspect of them.
In single player games where the individual does not have any interaction with a human being there is no incentive or need for the individual to keep playing beyond a certain time limit. However, online gaming has a social aspect that is not only driven by a community of members but also competition. Thus, the time required to remain a part of this community is not a small investment on the part of the player. Side effects of playing Video Games Before we go into the problems with online gaming it is first important to know the psychological side effects of video games.
Although there have been studies that have shown the positive effects of video games. The negative effects are also quite apparent. A study from 2003 linked the playing of violent video games to aggressive behavior in adolescents. The same study showed that those individuals with greater exposure to such video games showed poorer performance in education and were more likely to have arguments with their teachers and were generally more hostile and likely to be involved in physical altercations (Gentile, Lynchb and Linderc).
Another study which attempted to link television and video games to childhood obesity found that the increase in the children’s body mass index was not related to television rather it was directly related to video games. They also found that children who played video games were also less likely to have a physical lifestyle (Vandewater, Shim and Caplovitz). Internet Addiction Internet addiction is a psychological disorder which is directly related to online gaming.
Although the internet addiction is a relatively new disease that has not been widely accepted in the psychological community, there is not doubt that individuals in society today spend a large amount of their time doing tasks online. In many ways internet has been related to gambling since there is no physical intoxicant which causes the individual to become addicted. According to pre defined symptoms an individual is considered to be addicted to the internet if he spends 80 hours a week online or has sessions on the internet that last up to 20 hours a day.
This can lead to problems which can affect the individual’s health and social lifestyle. Not only can it cause sleep depravation resulting in fatigue which can lead to poor physical health. It is also responsible for other problems such as obesity, eye strain or back ache due to lack of proper exercise. It can also affect the individual’s relationship and responsibilities to his family and friends and can also badly affect his occupation and academic standing (Young).
A study of internet addiction which combined results from three hundred and twelve surveys found that people with internet addiction tend to be solitary and restrict themselves from being in social situations (Young and Rodgers). When we consider studies which are directly linked to online gaming we find similar results which show failings in school, work with an emphasis on family and relationship problems (Brian D. Ng and Peter Wiemer-Hastings). Online Gambling
While many people consider MMORGs and multiplayer games to be a huge concern for society, they often completely disregard the another form of online gaming that is just as damaging if not more in the online world as it is in the physical world. This form of gaming is online gambling. Since the psychological and sociological effects of gambling are well known by society, they can easily be ascribe to online gambling as well as it is just as dangerous as real gambling and has the same real world consequences.
A study found that at least 65. 9% of individuals who gamble online were probable pathological gamblers. Not only do these activities affect these individuals in terms of their monetary and time concerns, but can severely affect their physical health as well (Petry). Seizures due to playing online Another neglected side effect of online gaming that has come to light is that of seizures. This is different from seizures caused by photosensitivity to video games since online game players in MMO or MMORPGs are not only susceptible to photosensitivity but also higher behavioral and mental factors that are attributed to seizures.
The study also found that warnings for epileptic seizures were not always on the websites or the product boxes for the MMORPG software’s. It also said that the prevalence of such seizures may be more widespread due to insufficient research done in this area (Chuang). Motivations In order to understand why this has become the phenomenon it has today it is first important to see why individuals are involved in this industry as players and as providers.
A comprehensive study of games industry analyst DFC intelligence about which MMOs and MMORPGs earning in 2008 found games like World of Warcraft making over 500 million dollars in revenue that year, with the second highest revenue being 150-500 million dollars going to Family Westward Journey (Au). While it is understood why gaming companies have a stake in the continued participation of their customers why motivates gamers to be online for such long amounts of time. According to a survey conducted in 2006 the key motivations for online players can be divided into three parts achievements, social and immersion.
Achievements speak of how these players find online gaming challenging and rewarding and enjoy progressing in them with or against others. The social interaction includes the fact that they are a part of community of friends or groups which work in collaboration to achieve goals. They also spoke of the importance of anonymity online and how that is appealing to them. The final motivation is the immersion factor which includes the settings, storyline and attention to detail in the games which provide a form of escapism for the players (Yee).