Study: Researchers Determine Sex May Cause Pregnancy!
Study: Researchers Believe Poking a Bear With A Sharp Stick May Result In Mauling!
Yes, those both sound a bit uhm, like a waste of time and money, no? Well, look at this little gem I saw the other day on GameDaily Biz:
New research conducted at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has shown that massively multiplayer online games, such as Asheron’s Call (pictured) and Lineage, can expose gamers to alternate worldviews and promote sociability.
OMG, can it be true? I never noticed?! Ok, snarky sarcasm aside, is this just a case of some lazy researchers trying to win an award for stating the obvious, or did they actually miss the boat and get the wrong conclusion to their research? Read on…
The first thing that surprises me here, is that it took researchers at two universities some amount of time and money to come to a conclusion that seems blitheringly obvious…of course MMORPGs expose players to alternate worldviews (and I assume they mean real world points of view, culture, and politics and not virtual worldviews). Of course MMORPGs promote sociability. The very nature of these games is about interacting with other players from many backgrounds and beliefs.
On the other hand, can I really say that the conclusion is obvious? While MMORPGs *should* be promoting socialibility and offering players exposure to alternate worldviews, are today’s most popular games achieving this?
Have MMORPGs become less sociable over the years with the emphasis on grind and self-centered gameplay? Do players really take the time to chat about their perspective on world affairs or are they too busy whining about getting PK’d somewhere and complaining about the last guild raid?
Anyway, I’m still convinced that MMORPGs are getting farther and farther away from RPG and closer to FPS. Less social with more twitch and hack. Toss in a stinky mix of in-game advertising; “free to play” models (how long until someone offers “a monthly subscription to our MMO will disable ads”?); and a strong dose of carbon copy generic content, and you can see where our industry is going in the next few years. Unless of course, someone tries to do something different and succeeds in bringing it to market.
One last thing…how exactly did those researchers come to their conclusions?