MMORPG - social problem or future life?

Project leader


Funding source

Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2008
End date: 31/12/2010
Funding: 2700000 SEK


The aim is to study MMORPG gaming (Massive Multiplayer Online RolePlaying Games), a widespread leisure activity that for many has expanded into a lifestyle. World of Warcraft (WoW) - the most widespread game ever – form base for the study. Four different aspects are focused; WoW as challenging reality; WoW as a social problem in the making; organisational aspects of WoW; and WoW in a gender perspective.

What are the good and bad sides of WoW, according to the gamers and parents? The impact of gaming on general life and consequences of extensive gaming is often discussed in terms of a social problem in the making. In research, gaming is often formulated as an addiction with the same terminology and problem indicators as is used for alcohol and substance use addiction. What significance does WoW have for the gamers? Have claims of WoW as a problem found resonance within the gaming culture? What constitutes the gaming culture, structure and networks? Is WoW a gendered activity? If not; who are the female gamers? Does female gaming differ from male gaming?

The project includes mapping out of WoW culture and evolution. Observations will be carried through in gaming sites where gamers gather for LAN gaming. A large amount of information will be collected from Internet sources. For knowledge about the penetrative power of WoW and aspects of gaming, surveys with teenagers and parents will be analysed. A third survey, of adult gamers, will be carried through via Internet. Network analyses aiming at visualisation of WoW relations, overlapping relations and their development over time will be accomplished.

The project addresses several theory traditions: how are social problems constructed; the concept of addiction and abuse/misuse; organisational structuring of gamers’ interaction; aspects of gender-based segregation. Knowledge in these fields based on Swedish research is at present very limited and scarce.

Last updated on 2017-29-03 at 17:13