According to this Wall Street Journal article about a Second Life user whose real-life wife isn't too pleased about his in-world marriage, "a typical 'gamer' spends 20 to 40 hours a week in a virtual world." First off, I love that the word gamer is in quotes. Do we really exist? Who knows! Second, that number sounds sensationalist-ically high to me. When I said so a few weeks back over on my blog, a reader reminded me about Nick Yee's actual research on the subject. According to Nick, the average amount of time an MMO player spends in-world is indeed around 20 hours a week. Where The Wall Street Journal got 20 to 40, the world will never know.
Still, even 20 seems surprisingly high for Second Life. Call me old
fashion (or just call me not an MMORPG player), but when I hear 20
hours all I can think is, "That's half a work week!" So I wrote to
Nick to ask him how he went about
collecting his data, to see if maybe his numbers had been skewed
toward a certain type of players. Here's what Nick wrote back:
"Data on hours played has always been from self-selected surveys on MMO players, so there is an issue where we don't really know for sure whether we are severely undersampling very casual players. One potential upside is that I keep a mailing list, so I ping players who may become casual over time and I do have players responding to the surveys who say they play between 0-1 hours a week. This is in fact one of those questions that we may never have a good answer to even with server-side data. For example, whenever we look at server-side data, the question becomes how we define an active player? Is it someone who logs in at least once a week, once a month, or once a year? And how do we differentiate players who stay logged on and aren't playing from those that are in fact playing all those hours, or the players who share accounts (i.e., gold farmers)."
All good points I hadn't thought about. Nick too said he thought 20 to 40 sounded "way too high" for Second Life. I know that, whenever I'm in-world, I feel like I'm surrounded by mostly new users.
I can't imagine that that sort of fast turn around would be upping the
Well, how many hours a week are you spending in Second Life?