In today’s media addiction of any kind is seen as being a bad thing. Whether that addiction is to meth, crack, chocolate, television, or video games the media portrays addiction as being a bad thing. The media also has a tendency to go after video games whenever something horrible happens like shootings, suicides, or death in general. In no way am I saying that those actions are good or that they can be excused but what I suggest is that video game addiction, specifically MMO addiction, has positives effects that can out weigh the possible negative tendencies.
1. Video Game Addicts stimulate the economy
According to Dominic Sacco, writer for the PCR, “Online PC game World of Warcraft (WoW) is now generating a cool £100 million every single month – perhaps more. The title’s latest expansion pack, Warlords of Draenor, launched on November 13th and sold more than 3.3 million copies within its first 24 hours on sale. This pushed the number of paying subscribers from 7.4 million up to 10 million.” According to both the official Guild Wars 2 forum and several other online forums I have seen dozens of post where players regularly drop anywhere from $10-$15 a month and though the posts varied in recency there was enough of a trend to warrant notification. And lastly according to Gigaom even Club Penguin makes anywhere from $50-$150 million a year. With all this money being pumped into these games how much of it comes from MMO addicts? Well according to Arstechnica about 40% of World of Warcraft’s users are clinically addicted to the game. This means that almost half the money that World of Warcraft makes is from addicts. This money is not just given to a CEO though, the money these addicts spend on their MMOs is spent paying employees, server maintenance, rent, new technologies, expansions, conventions, and a grocery list of other things. This means the money is being put back into the economy though many many sectors. So indirectly these addicts are paying a ton of people’s salaries.
2. MMO addicts socialize on their games more than they would in real life
When is the last time you’ve seen a person in a Dungeons and Dragons shirt, quest marker hat, or fried Merlock shirt talk to anyone outside of their MMO? Most MMO players are anti-social either through their own choice or because they don’t have anything to relate to people with. This could be a huge problem because of social ostracism which can lead to bad self esteem and then that bad self esteem can possibly lead to violence. Because of MMOs though these players have a huge community of like minded players who they can talk to for hours and get to know them just like they would get to know them in real life. Now there might not be a lot of time to talk to other players about their days when you are knee deep on bandits and you are aggroing the dungeon boss and your healer is dead but with long journeys, deep strategy, and lots of grinding so there is plenty of time to talk to other players through text or voice and for someone who is usually anti-social that little bit of communication is incredibly important.
3. MMO addicts will have an amazing skill set in their every day lives
How many of us can say that we can calculate the success rate of a 50 man raid on an upper tier dungeon boss when each player has different stats, skills, and classes? Well most every MMO addict can do that like we do simple algebra. They are able to crunch massive numbers, come up with epic strategies, and coordinate any number of players in an incredibly stressful environment where life, death, and purple loot hang in the balance. These players are also able to dig through an absolute ton of culture, lore, and player interactions to be as good as they are. This means they are able to make sense of incredibly convoluted information and in a world where information is as redly available as air is to breath but at the same time that information is as hard to understand as ancient Egyptian algebra these players have an incredibly marketable skill they can use in their day-to-day lives.