Do MMOs Actually Affect People's Social Behavior?
Does the picture of a sad sub-culture of people huddled behind their computers, afraid to go outside, actually exist? Does playing Second Life actually make people more likely to go out and meet others?
Writer Dimitri Williams over at TerraNova thinks it’s all just a bunch of hype.
“Newspapers like to cultivate drama. Maybe they’re just meta-guilds, eh?” he writes in a recent TerraNova post. The subject of the post was spawned from a recent story covered by Shawn about how players of MMORPGs are not socially introverted, along with a contradicting story in the Wall Street Journal about a couple’s marriage which apparently suffers from the husband’s obsession with his virtual life in Second Life. But are the games really at issue?
“Without the option of diving away from his life and into SL, would the husband have gone on with his life and marriage? And, would it have been a life of quiet desperation, or marital bliss?” he asked, making a very salient point.
How the new constructed virtual worlds are fitting into our everyday lives are definitely interesting, but I would say it’s still very much up for debate whether or not it’s of any real consequence to how people behave. Maybe it provides new outlets for people’s quirkiness, but maybe it’s just a different shrinkwrap on our packaged lives.