We MMO gamers may not be such couch potatoes after all, according to a new study jointly conducted at the University of Southern California, the Palo Alto Research Center, and the University of Delaware.
Unfortunately, we have other, um…. issues.
The New Scientist reports that research teams surveyed 7,000 Everquest II players about their physical and mental health. Study participants received a special in-game item, the Greatstaff of the Sun Serpent as an incentive to participate.
The news about the health of MMO players was surprisingly good:
The results suggest that adult gamers have an average body mass index of 25.2, compared to the overall American average of 28. The average gamer also engages in vigorous exercise once or twice a week, which the researchers say is more than most Americans. The reasons for this are not obvious, although the team suggest it may be because more educated, wealthier people are attracted to computer games, and these people also tend to take better care of their health.
However, the EQII gamer population had some mental health issues:
The downside, however, was that the gamers reported more cases of depression and substance abuse than their compatriots. "They may be drawn to use the game to help deal with emotional distress," says team member Scott Caplan of the University of Delaware.
The survey also found that the EQII audience was older and less male-dominated than the common wisdom would dictate.