While MMOs are extremely social games, involving chatting with people, performing quests together, forming groups and role-playing, a new survey reveals that the time spent playing is linked to depression.

In the survey at Northwestern University, Illinois, seven thousand Everquest 2 players were tested for signs of depression; the major distinguishing factor between respondents was the length of time spent playing the game.

21% of players that only logged on occasionally showed signs of depression, but for “hardcore” users, the signs were up to almost 30%.

The problem with the survey though is that it’s unclear whether depressed people are more likely to play MMOs, or whether playing MMOs leads to depression.

The survey also tended to disprove the idea that MMOs are “global melting pots,” as people end up playing with people nearby, or with people they already know, reinforcing existing social networks rather than making new ones.

The survey also found that many players underestimate the amount of time they spend playing and that women are the most dedicated and satisfied players, as long as they’re not playing with other women. Make your own jokes here.

Source: LA Times

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