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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Totally Addicted to Mace

The term 'addiction' is bandied around a little too often and with not enough thought put into the connotations of the word, in respect to addiction and MMO games in particular. My particular habit-forming weakness, Dictionary.com, defines addiction as "Habitual psychological and physiological dependence on a substance or practice beyond one's voluntary control." I'm willing to admit that at times I can play MMOs in a state of meditative trance, playing for the sake of progression or lack of originality in my life; however, this is a personal choice and not a sign of the game removing my ability to control my own actions. MMO games often make a habit of removing fun in the short term in order for a player to gain reward in the long term. This is my issue with the genre (if you can truly call the MMO a genre), not as a health risk but as a potential colossal waste of time.
Do gamers really have a need for addiction clinics? Assumedly so, as surely the business would not exist without a demand. I'd like to see some statistics as to which is more common - gamers checking themselves into an addiction clinic of their own free will, or gamers being checked in by concerned parents, spouse etc.

In almost related news, Slashdot reports on the growing trend of MMO game accounts being stolen by geeky ne'erdowells and sold on the black market. Quoting a ZDNet article "For a lot of the customers out there, there is more store value on their MMO characters than there is on the credit card with which they pay for the account"

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