Monthly Archives: June 2013

ESA: 2013 Data on Video game Consumption

Doubt that the decline in sales is a bubble about to burst. Mobile platforms may be a factor, but we are also in the last few months of the current console generation. Lots of gamers saving their $$$ for a PS4 or Xbox One?

The Sociology of Videogames

The Entertainment Software Association, one of the foremost collectors of data on the video game industry, has released their 2013 data about video game consumption and use. It’s some pretty nifty information on gamers, their buying habits, and their make-up. In terms of sociology and video games, this is the bee’s knees (That’s a good thing, right?)

Let’s talk about some of the more interesting findings.

58% of American play video games:Look to your left, look to your right. Chances are the person sitting next to you is a gamer. This means that gamers are no longer in the minority. Like it or not, if you’re an American you’re most likely at least a little bit of a gamer. While this statistic doesn’t go into how it defines gamers, it shows that playing video games is now a hobby or activity that most Americans partake in.

45% of Gamers…

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Is Internet addiction really “just like coming off ecstasy”?

Study finds that heavy users of the Internet are more likely to be depressed and suggests that they may experience withdrawal symptoms similar to those of drug users.

internet addiction depression

Internet addiction just like drug addiction?

A recent study in the international journal PLOS ONE, has found that excessive users of the Internet are more likely to experience mood difficulties such as depression than those with more moderate habits.

The study also concluded that heavy users of the Internet may suffer from mood-related withdrawal symptoms when access to the Internet is removed.

How about an attention-grabbing quote from the researchers?

When these people come off-line, they suffer from increased negative mood – just like people coming off illegal drugs lke ecstasy.”

Here’s the thing – excessive use of the Internet is a real problem for some people, and it doesn’t matter if we call it an “addiction”, “excessive use”, or “unhealthy habits”. It can certainly cause problems at school, work, and in relationships. I’ve seen it and I work with it every day.

By the way, deterioration in mood was tested like this:

1. Baseline mood questionnaire

2. Use the Internet in a lab setting for 15 minutes

3. 2nd mood questionnaire

External validity questions aside, I don’t see a lot of value in trying to equate video game and Internet addiction with drug addiction. In my opinion this trivializes the very serious problem of drug and alcohol addiction and does nothing to “legitimize” the problem of unhealthy online habits.

Comparing online habits to ecstasy is not very helpful – it just seems like an unnecessary attempt to give weight to the very real problem (for some) of Internet addiction.

Internet addiction (or video game addiction) is comparable to drug addiction: Agree or disagree?

Original journal article

Racial differences in video game preferences

Study finds that MMOs and FPS video games are most often associated with problematic gaming. Also, what kinds of games are preferred by different racial groups?

race and video games

Association between race and preferred video games?

The finding that MMO and FPS games are more likely to be linked to problematic or unhealthy play is not unexpected given previous research.

Somewhat more interesting are the gaming habits of different ethnicities / races.

Caucasians: Role-playing and strategy games
African Americans: Sports and gambling
Latino: Platformers

The study itself presents the findings, but doesn’t spend a lot of time discussing why certain races seem to prefer certain game genres.

Given that we are talking about racial differences I know this may be asking for trouble, but why do you think this is?

Any theories on the different preferences? If you are going to comment, keep it respectful please.

Original Article: Racial Differences in Video Game Preference

Teen dies during 24 hour gaming session – Parents donate organs

A computer gamer in China who died after a 24-hour marathon gaming session will allow others to live on via organ donation.


Charity follows tragedy

On May 19, 2013, 18-year-old Guo Quon collapsed and never regained consciousness after playing computer games for almost 24 hours non-stop. Although rare, these sudden deaths have been previously reported and are thought to be caused by blood clots.

Quon remained on life support following the collapse but suffered severe brain damage and was not expected to ever wake up.

His parents made the difficult decision to remove him from life support and donate his organs to China’s fledgling organ donation program. Organ donation in China is in its infancy, with many “donations” coming from inmates on death row.

Teen Slashes Throat of Gaming Rival – Lawyer Blames Violent Video Games

By Dr. Brent Conrad at

A 15-year-old boy in the U.K. has received a three year custodial sentence for slashing the throat of a rival online gamer when they met in person.

video games blamed for violent attack

Judge believes that violent computer games contributed to attack

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons (and who was 13 at the time of the attack), admitted that he attempted to kill another boy while they were at a friend’s house.

Fortunately, the victim did not die, but suffered a 15cm wound that has required extensive surgery.

The defendant’s lawyer argued that her client was desensitised due to overuse of violent video games and used violence as a way to solve problems. Also of note, the boy (at just 15) is already a father and “has particularly low intellectual ability”.

When passing the sentence, the judge concluded “I accept that exposure to violent video games increases the risk of violent behavior on the viewer’s part”.

Original story:


Are the effects of violent video games to blame for this attack? Is the legal defence looking for a convenient scapegoat (i.e., violent video games)?

It seems rather likely that this boy had serious psychological and/or emotional issues above and beyond an obsession with gaming…

What do you think?   

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