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Survey Refutes 'Loner' Stereotype of Video Gamers
Date:1/10/2013

mong other things, all were asked to rank the degree to which they felt that gaming was central to their lives; how much money they spent on games a year; how much time they spent gaming a week; how much pleasure they derived from playing; and how much of their sense of identity was intertwined with gaming activities. Gaming's social role was also examined, with players asked to discuss gaming's place in their friends' lives, and whether gaming was a key and enjoyable topic of conversation in their social circle.

The result: Although those polled played video games more than 20 hours per week on average and spent more than $200 on games per year, Hickerson and Mowen found no apparent connection between social "success" and the amount of time or money gamers spent on gaming. In other words, those who played more and spent more did not say that they felt more disconnected from their friends than those who played/spent less.

However, why a gamer played did seem to affect friendship quality, with socialization suffering among those who made gaming the central feature of their lives.

By contrast, many of those surveyed viewed gaming, particularly multi-player gaming, as a leisure-time activity spent with friends. And such gamers were found to have "increased perceptions of social support," said Hickerson.

"Emphasizing the social nature of games may increase the social outcomes associated with playing and decrease use in isolation," he suggested.

David Ewoldsen, a professor in the school of communications at Ohio State University in Columbus, said the findings "don't surprise me at all."

He said, "The stereotype of the lone gamer is something I've been fighting for a long time. Because in our surveys we found that the number one motivation for why people play games is social interaction. It's the social component of games that is the big motivator."

The bottom line, Ewoldsen added, "is that it's not what you play but how
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