It's 10 pm. Do you know where you and your loved ones are? Here is a collection of experiences from those who live / have lived with an obsessive MMOG gamer and from those who have lived the experience of obsessive MMOG gaming.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I was sitting in a seminar recently listening to research reports about the Net Generation, those who were born post-1982 and take the Internet for an assumed part of life. For some reason, I started thinking about MMORPGs and how most of the stories I had been reading involved adults in their 20s, 30s and older, rather than children and teenagers. Now, I know that there are young MMORPG gamers who spent excessive amounts of time playing online games, but I always thought that we had more stories of adult gaming obsession because of their amount of responsibilities and because younger gamers had parents and guardians who had a say in how their time was spent.

Here is the thought that had not occured to me until now: Do gen-Xers and baby boomers play more obsessively and have a harder time unfocusing from the MMORPG world than the Net Generation because they possess less / no intrinsic skills to detach and divide their focus? According to research, there is proof that the net generation's brains are wired differently than that of the previous generations - so I am asking this: Does being connected everywhere & everytime and multi-tasking since birth make it easier for the newer generations to take in MMORPGs just as another part of life without getting completely immersed (aka sucked) into a virtual persistent world?

I thought I was a good multi-tasker, but compared to a kid who can study while listening to music, while talking to friends on IM and having the TV running in the background, I probably could not even call myself a multi-tasker. Heck, once I focus on writing an email or IM'ing someone, I am oblivious to the TV or someone's conversation.

Everyone's certainly been "complaining" about the short attention span of the newer generations but do we perhaps miss the fact that they can divide their attention between so many different activities and stimuli? Will they be less prone to spending years of 40+ hours in MMORPGs than us? I guess only time will tell.


Blogger Portia said...

I think that is a very perceptive observation, and you may be correct to a certain degree in saying that this generation is better able to handle multiple, simultaneous mental connections. It did occur to me though, that I have read that some people have always been able to study while listening to music, watching television, etc. In my own case, as a young adult I always had to have the TV or radio on while I studied. Studying in complete silence and with no distractions was way too boring. I used to also be able to read and watch TV at the same time. Now, however, I am less able to concentrate on more than one mental activity at a time, and this change has become evident since I quit online gaming. So, it makes me wonder if the change was caused simply by aging, or if online gaming somehow made me less able to handle multiple mental tasks at once? Food for thought anyway - just one thought at a time for me now (-;

Sep 21, 2005, 9:59:00 AM

Blogger J said...

Hey, one good thought at a time is better than 10 non-thoughts at a time :)

Definitely some of it is age-related - it takes me much (much) longer to study for a test nowadays.

Sep 21, 2005, 10:56:00 AM

Anonymous ~Chris said...

I've played EQ before and probably will again. When I study it has to be in silence. I get done faster that way. If the TV or radio is on my mind wonders too much and I can't focus on what I'm researching or studying. In my opinion, blaming a MMORPG on that is absurd. They get blamed for enough already.


Oct 1, 2005, 11:33:00 PM

Blogger J said...

To be honest, I don't know why you take it as "blaming" here. I think EQ like other things, occupies attention, and I think the older generation has a harder time focusing on multiple things at the same time. Instead of EQ, just plug in IMs, and you have the same issue. Let's face it, the next generation's brains are wired much differently than hours, and I can definitely see the younger generation getting bored with MMORPGs quicker than the older gamers.

How that has to do with blaming EQ is beyond me.

Oct 2, 2005, 11:39:00 AM

Blogger beemoh said...

With regard to the attention defecit/distribution comment, there was a book released recently under the title of "Everything Bad Is Good For You".

While I haven't read it myself, the synopsises and extracts I've read show that it should give some food for thought on the matter.


Oct 13, 2005, 4:28:00 AM


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