Pachter: MMO Gamers Are Addicts

In an interview with Reuters, Wedbush-Morgan financial analyst Michael Pachter has characterized MMO players as "addicts."

In the article, Reuters examines the effect of the current economic climate on the online game business. Pachter suggested that MMOs would see little impact due to the nature of their players’ relationship with the games:

I don’t think (online multiplayer games) get impacted at all, because people who play them are addicts, Losing their jobs makes them more likely to play because they have more time to play.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. SimonBob says:

    Dang, he gets one quote in a three-page article and everybody jumps all over him.  Sounds to me like the author of the article cherry-picked the line to support his central theme.  On the other hand, I had an impression of Pachter being smarter than that, but I googled his recent associations and he comes off as fairly inaccurate.  Maybe I was thinking of N’Gai Croal?

    Anyway, I’m addicted to reading comments on GP, so the truth will out one way or another.  Pachter’s an economist — maybe he should be relating the new "Buy American" policy to video games.  (Stop playing Final Fantasy!  It comes from Japan!)

    The Mammon Industry

  2. catboy_j says:

    It may be a bit past this articles lifespan, but can I point out what you’re saying and where it doesn’t have merit?

    How many other foods, activities, and everything else are constantly called addictive? How often is the word addictive casually slung around? When saying addictive we know that we wanna fucking play it again if we like it, the same way they say the same about reality or any TV show. If you like it you want more so if you can you go get more. And yes plenty of unemployed people buy WoW with their unenployment. Or TV. I know plenty of people go and use their disabilitie or social security for outrageous things or just not work on the books and have their family buy them shit. It’s not just video games either.

    But there are a fair ammount, probably most MMO users like myself who take offense to the blind use of the word addict in this case especially with the history it has. There are plenty of people who think I’m addicted to video games cause that’s one of my main hobbies when in fact I really haven’t gamed much at all in the past 4 months.

    And yes MMOs and video games are rather cheap. It costs me and my boyfriend 13 dollars each just to get into the damn palace to see The Dark Knight. A movie that I found to be good only cause I had my boyfriend there. Where as a Free mmo, or even a used or rented video game gives us hours of time together to play co-op or take turns nya. That’s what makes them so appealing, but there’s a clear difference here between saying "This game is so addicting" and calling people hardocre addicts who will rather loose their job and keep playing.

  3. Thomas says:

    I think gamers ourselves have to take some of the responsiblity for statements like this.

    Many people say they don’t play certain new games because they lack that "addictive" quality.

    Many reviews or advertisements use the statement "addictive gameplay".

    Many jokingly call themselves "WoW Addicts".

    And we are suprised when people with less understanding, or possibly just using it in the same way, pick it up and use it?

    That said.. those saying that Unemployed people would cancel their account perhaps don’t understand just how cost effective MMOs are as a lesiure activity. Everybody, employed or not, needs time off and time to relax, to spend with their friends.. and as those activities go, MMOs are one of the cheapest around. I pay more for my TV package than for my MMO. My wife is a bartender and people spend more money in one round for a couple of people than we do in a month for our MMO payments.

    I was unemployed for a fair while not long ago and could easily afford WoW.

  4. Wolvenmoon says:

    That’s absolutely hilarious. While MMOs are about as addictive as a game gets (they have to be-else they die out), he didn’t bother to specify the key difference between them and chemical drugs.

    If confronted he’d probably stammer and mention that the difference is obvious, but it’s still not bothering to break that kind of connection.

    Of course, there is food addiction, etc, which have conditioned responses. So yes, there may be some MMORPG addicts. Maybe a high percentage. Blanket statements are almost always false.

  5. Leet Gamer Jargon says:

    Huurrr…guuhhhhh….Nuh-need MMOss…Need..aggro…

    *ssnnnrrrrrkk*…Ohhh-hoh-hoh-hooohhhh, mamma! Yeeaaahhh, that’s the good stuff…

    WhaH–level cap?! Nooooo!! Nuh-need more grinding!! Hhrrrnngh!!


    Game on, brothers and sisters.

  6. Deamian says:


    Wow mr.economy analyst, I dind’t know you were a fucking psychiatrist too. It’s so true I don’t need the income of a job to afford my fix every month. It all adds up.

  7. nightwng2000 says:

    Users of EBT cards would e easier to track. 

    Then, too, depending on the government aid, a re-evaluation every 6 months to a year also is useful. 

    After being laid off from a job in 2002, and after my alloted unemployment ran out, I hadn’t found a job so for a time had to be on Social Security disability (legally blind).  Hated to do it because SS is so screwed up.  But, once I found a job, I continued to receive SSD for 9 months (a trial period to make sure I remain employed).  Every time I received a paycheck, I had to take a copy in to the Social Security office for them to add to my file.  I was paid every week.

    Another point is that when filing taxes, a taxpayer SHOULD have records, including receipts, to show evidence of what they filed for.  AUDIT!  🙂

    Also, hire some of these folks receiving government aid to do the data entry of those receipts into the system.  Heck, -I- would have been happy with that job, at least while looking for a better job.

    Drug tests, sure.  I’d be happier with 100% accurate tests more.  But I’ll take one any time, anywhere.  On the privacy issue, I’d think someone would have something to hide if they didn’t want to take one, though I wouldn’t be surprised of some authority figure wanting to abuse that requirement SOMEHOW.  Seriously, I can see a certain someone saying "all you gamers do drugs!  Prove you don’t!"  And then demanding that you take a blood draw drug test every other day, then claim all the needle marks on your arm actually came from drug use.  Wouldn’t surprise me.  :/


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  8. SetoChaos says:

    Addict? No. Sorry, but although I do play RuneScape I am not addicted. Nor are my friends that play WoW, in fact they don’t renew thier account if they don’t feel they have enough money too. As for me, I sometimes take up to months off of playing an MMO. I normally agree with Pachter, but this time I think he’s wrong.

  9. Neeneko says:

    In his line of work, all you have to do is convince higher ups that your opinions are worth while.  Very qualitative work and almost impossible to measure effectivness.

  10. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    Yeah, so when you run out of money to pay for your subscription, you’ll totally still be playing WoW…

    That…makes perfect sense.


  11. Austin_Lewis says:

    I think there’s not a lot that can be done to significantly bloat the welfare system right now.  It’s like a black hole for taxpayer dollars.

  12. Neeneko says:

    Ironicly, the original statement, that MMORPGs are ‘recession proof’ is probably correct and ties into well understood market effects.  Specificly, when things are crummy people turn to entertainment, often to entertainment that yields a good value for your dollar, which MMORPGs are.

    In other words, if anyone has money in this firm, take it out, because this bozo doesn’t seem to know basic economics.  If this guy’s anaysis is better then random chance I would be surprised.

  13. the1jeffy says:

    "Require persons receiving government benefits to retain receipts showing they aren’t misusing the government aid."

    Then who monitors the receipts and bank records?  That’s just an added layer of bureaucratic costs to the already bloated system.  A far easier system would be simple policy of not allowing the use of unemployment/welfare cards at specialty stores for starters.  Although Wal-Mart/Target types are the real culprits — those stores actually train associates not to confront customers about the eligibility of the use of government funds for a purchase, instead trusting both the customer (HA!) and the increasingly automated approval for reinbursement.

    Another idea I’m fond of would be required drug tests for eligibility for any government aid.  Which, then can be kept on file for use when applying for a new job.  Everyone already gets a piss test for eligibility to work, why not use the same rule for government aid? 

    ~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

  14. Gift says:

    I’ll second (or third) that, I’m considering the cost of free time for a different reason (going to be a Dad) and MMOs are pretty good value for money. The way I see it, I’m saving tonnes of cash, which I’d normally spend on going out that I can now spend on little-Gift.

    As a parent-to-be my disposable income is now pretty much my child’s, but MMOs and computer games in general are a pretty economical way for my wife and I to spend a little free time when the baby has gone to bed. 😉

    Obviously, if circumstances change the games will go as well (I’d live like a hermit for my kids), mean time it’s pocket change for hours of entertainment.


  15. ZippyDSMlee says:

    I’d say there is a compulsion but it’s no different than normal gamming, reading or any activity one can by slightly compulsive with. Only MMOs by the hour…I wish good hookers where as cheap…



    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  16. sortableturnip says:

    It’s the old addage:  Opinions are like a$$holes, everyone’s got one and they all stink!  😉

  17. Freyar says:

    At LotR’s launch, they offered a lifetime subscription for $200. The offer (as far as I recall) has since been removed, though still honored to people that bought it.

    —- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians.

  18. lordlundar says:

    They were available before the gold release. You could pay $200 and get a lifetime membership. The catch was they weren’t available to beta testers and they had no preview, so you were taking a chance on shelling out the cash for a possible crap game.

  19. gamegod25 says:

    I’ve seen him on various shows/podcasts and he seems like a nice guy, but that is a very ignorant and generalized statement.

    I used to play WoW but quit because I needed to cut back my costs during these hard times. I’d like to play but food and shelter comes first ^_^

  20. nightwng2000 says:

    Best Buy is definitely an expensive place.

    Was it a "regular" TV or a LCD/Plasma/HD TV?

    Yeah, having a radio is sufficient for most folks.  Definitely can’t waste money on the small non-upgradeable radio/TVs.  Dang digital!

    If it was a "cheap" TV, maybe they saved up?

    Still, 35" is kinda large. 

    But, yeah, I’d still agree that accountability is needed in the system big time. 

    Heck, with EBT, the receipt is in the system itself.  That alone should ring someone’s bell where ever their funds come from.  It SHOULD anyway, but probably doesn’t.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  21. Austin_Lewis says:

    I just watched two people pay for a TV with the EBT card at Bestbuy.  It was like a 35 inch at least.  What bullshit is this?

  22. nightwng2000 says:

    "Losing their jobs makes them more likely to play because they have more time to play."

    Except that most of the most popular (Guild Wars being the exception) MMOs COST.

    So, losing their job, thereby losing their INCOME, means they’ll be able to spend more time playing MMOs which charge a monthly fee… wait.

    Now THERE is someone who needs a brain scan… to locate his one remaining IQ point.  :/

    Ah, wait, you say they are spending the money they are receiving from government benefits on gaming?

    Solution (no matter unpopular it is):

    Require persons receiving government benefits to retain receipts showing they aren’t misusing the government aid.  Require receipients to produce those receipts once a month, along with bank statements, etc.  Yes, the government should be held equally accountable, but so should receipients of the government funding.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  23. Praetorian says:

    Yeah buddy! It’s the only reason I chose to play LotR Online over WoW becuase of the lifetime thing. Subscribing to a monthly fee for a game is just silly to me when you have to buy the software anyhow.

    I got the lifetime on sale so it’ll pay for itself in 13.33 months which for me is next month.

    On the remark that I would be playing an MMO instead of looking for work…well, that would probably be true for a week. then I’d get cabin fever and start pounding the street for work.

    Don’t know about anyone else, but this fat guy has to eat and pay rent.


    "I’ve been told I’m the resident skeptic, but I wouldn’t believe that."

    ECA Seattle Chapter

  24. thefremen says:

     As a WoW Widower I can confidently say that some people are indeed addicted to MMOs, but not everyone. I played moar wow when I first got laid off, but eventually found a terrible job that pays less than unemployment so I’m doing that now.

  25. Larington says:

    I’ve got to echo the sentiment that if people are spending lots of free time playing MMOs, its because they are a fairly inexpensive way of doing so. Going to the cinema costs £6 a time for a 2-3 hour film, going out for a meal can cost between £5 and £20 (Or more) per head and lasts up to two hours at most, going out on the town can cost some folks as much as £40 for one night, or much much more, but a months subscription is £10-15 for an entire month. Thats some good value for money right there, any fool who stops and thinks about it can see that.

    Nevermind the fact that people play MMOs because getting to that next level makes a person feel as though they’ve achieved something, which can be a precious feeling if you’ve been up for countless job interviews and been rejected for one reason or other.

  26. KayleL says:

    Well, if you play a MMO so much that it’s the reason why you lost your job, by definition, you are addicted to it.

  27. Paulrus says:

    This just in, everyone on Second Life is a furry. -_-

    Right. I know that there are people who will have to be scraped off their monitor to stop playing MMOs, but i’m sure at least half of them have a life. Or a quarter. A sizeable percentage.

    I’m an attention whore. So visit my DevaintArt and feed my ego. Feed the whore.

  28. Overcast says:

    Why is it that gamers are always considered ‘addicts’?

    A sports fan would be called a ‘fan’ or a ‘buff’ – Football buff, Baseball Fan, etc

    Same with Movies – ‘fan’ or ‘buff’. "Oh, he’s a big movie buff!"

    They call the sitcom/gameshow lovers ‘Couch Potatos’.

    Workaholics are called "productive".

    Wouldn’t all of the above be ‘addicts’ too? So let’s start calling ‘sports fans’ and ‘couch potatos’ addicts too.

    I know people who blow more time on the TV than video games – in a lot of cases, it’s not even close. Many people will turn the TV on the second they get home from work and it’s there until bedtime.

    I’ll prefer to be a ‘MMO Addict’ ANYDAY as opposed to a ‘couch potato’ that LOVES sitcoms!! Yippie!

  29. mogbert says:

    Some people could be "addicted" to it, others aren’t. In this case, addiction is a bit strong, you could say they put to high an importance in it. Same thing happens with sports. This Sunday, how many people would have been upset if they couldn’t see their game? I think it is a case of people forming an emotional attachment to their in game personas. The "addiction" is a case of someone who feels they can’t better themselves as easily in the real world (or interact as easily), and so they feel more comfortable in a place with set rules, a clear goal, and the lines between friend and enemy are clear. So they seek solace in their comfort zone.

    I stopped playing those games when I started thinking that I hadn’t really done anything. I thought of the end game, what ever level I got to, what would be different? Not bloody much. I like most games because they tell a story. The games were fun, but in the end, I hadn’t really accomplished something (in other games, I would accomplish the end of the game). The other intangibles, like comaraderie and being able to get in jokes, I had already achieved. So I quit. I’ve tried other ones, just for fun and to see how they were, but I still prefer other kinds of games.I even "finished" Age of Conan, which started out pretty good, but then became a pile of crap, and then the developers worked on making worse.

    Ironically, last time I was laid off, I stopped playing video games entirely. I had all the time in the world, but I just couldn’t spend it doing what I enjoyed.

  30. Austin_Lewis says:

    I didn’t realize that shoddy financial analysts were also qualified to diagnose addiction.  Man, I’m learnin something new everyday, I tell you what.

  31. face777 says:

    Why the hell do people listen to idiots like this?  And why should we care what one person thinks?  I sure hope he doesn’t get paid for his ‘Mystic Meg’ visions…

  32. Awol says:

    Never mind that MMO offer a great value for the money. Lets think money is tight but not that tight so what do you cut out well if you think about it $15 a month isn’t much for a full month of being able to play a game you enjoy. Unless you play games for 4 months this is a better value than buying a new game every 4 month. Never mind all the free 2 play MMOs out there you could have fun for the cost of an internet connection.

    But labeling all MMO games as addicted thats just stupidity. I play an MMO and frankly when it stops being fun I stop paying for it. I have quit WoW 3 times already and will most like plan to cancel it again when WotLK gets boring.

    But I guess if money gets tight I will have to play LotR Online since I have a lifetime supscription to that game.

  33. Zerodash says:

    The bigger issue is that this piece of trash gets invited to all the press events and rubs elbows with the enthusiast press.  He is as part of "gamer culture" (I hate that term) as anyone else and should know better.  i guess this jackass feels he needs to score some quick points with the big press (Reuters, etc).  Michael Pachter is an asshole who should know better.  To hell with him.

  34. sortableturnip says:

    I can quit anytime I want to….Watch, I’m not playing a MMO right now………….

    *head explodes*

  35. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    While he definitely missed the mark, I hear there actually are people who fit the description Pachter has given. The only thing that made him miss was his belief that the description applied to all MMO gamers.


    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  36. Beacon80 says:

    Most of the money they charge you for goes to server maintanance and providing patches and new content.  It took Blizzard years to actually turn a profit on World of Warcraft.

  37. DeepThorn says:

    Hummmm….  except that those players may not have the money to play anymore.  You kinda need to be able to pay for electricity, internet, and server BS to play the game. (I don’t support MMOs charging monthly to play…  Just a personal thing…) Then you have food, water bill, rent/mortgage, and so on…

    All in all this may total around $1,000-$2,000 a month for many MMO players.

    So after other things that come around yearly and taxes, you need to be making $15,000-$30,000 a year.  Granted, unemployment may take care of $15,000 a year for you, that doesn’t last forever, AND it is no easier finding a job still if these people are too busy playing MMOs.  So I don’t want to hear it.  I know too many people trying to find jobs, and there are zip, zero, nada.

    Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
    How to set Xbox 360 Parental Controls

  38. d20sapphire says:

    I agree. If you keep your finances low and you do nothing but look for a job all day, it’s nice to be able to escape into a video game community during your free time.  I don’t think you can label such a big group of people "addicts" just because they support their leisurely escape that everyone does from time to time.

  39. Cerabret100 says:

    Well…yeah, but not necessarily because they’re addicts,  losing your job is probably pretty hard.  I know my dad hasn’t had any work and is bored out of his mind.  It’s not too far of a stretch to see playing an MMO more as a means of escape/coping, or just trying to do something during the time you were usually busy at work.

  40. Neeneko says:

    I’m guessing this is a man who has never actually met a MMO player….

    I am also guessing this grasp of economics is thin at best since job loss leads to income loss which makes supporting one’self and affording luxuries a little more difficult.  Then again, maybe he is just so used to easy money that he can’t picture actually having to work to get by.

  41. -Jes- says:

    I thought my economy was more important than petty games.

    Apparently I’m wrong, however, if this guy has brains in that big ol’ head of his.


    I somehow doubt it though…

  42. catboy_j says:

    I’ve played several mmos mostly free, and I can quit or stop whenever I like, and have done so. They’re generally just games to me, I just like to go out and level up… This guy is crazy.

  43. the1jeffy says:

    Are you kidding me?  The first thing I’d do if I lost my job is cancel my WoW accounts.

    That’s $30 bucks a month I’d need for, I dunno, food?  I am helplessly addicted to food though.  Food needs nerfed.

    However, he’s got a certain point.  At least one notable wow-blogger is unemployed and still plays.  Maybe not "addicted," but certainly not cutting what should be an easy way to save cash.

    ~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

  44. Zaruka says:

    wow guess im addicted to wow then even tho i  only have two character one level 70 and one level 10 and play off and on plus dont own the new expasion. yep im addicted. now exucuse me i must go raid for my level 18 8 str and 8 stam leather belt. lol im sry but this guy is way off when it comes to me and mmo.


    Thanks Zaruka

  45. black manta says:

    Pachter’s been off the mark before when it comes to his analyses, but this time he’s missed wide.  And frankly, I’m surprised hearing it coming from him.  I never thought he’d make asuch an ignorant blanket statement like that.

Comments are closed.