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.