Poll: Should MMOs Limit the Amount of Time Gamers Can Play Them to Stem Pathological Addiction?

When Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate came out a few months ago, I played it like a man obsessed!  The minute I came home from work I would fire up the game and play it for hours on end.  There was no time to eat, I dutifully sat in front of my TV and hunted monsters until I had to go to bed.  The next day I would do it all again.

This went on for several weeks.  I'd play and play and play and play but I wouldn't often take the time to eat.  It was especially bad on weekends.  During the week, I'd eat breakfast before going to work and eat a few more times throughout the day while at the office but on the weekend, I'd eat very little and spend most of the entire day playing.

I lost 10 pounds playing Monster Hunter.  Well, more specifically, I lost 10 pounds because I wasn't eating enough to sustain my weight.

Do you think the game should have recognized that I was spending too much time with it and suspended my play session for my own good?  Should such a feature be mandated by the government?  Should developers voluntarily program it into MMOs and other games you can dump hundreds of hours into?

Or should I be responsible for my own gaming habits?

Vote in the poll and let us know.  See that blank space below this article?  Use that area to regale us with your thoughts and opinions.  You can even send us email at SuperPACpodcast@gmail.com if you're so inclined.  On next week's podcast, EZK and I will reveal the poll results and discuss this topic along with all your spiffy opinions.

"vote label" © Tribalium / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen

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  1. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    No, I don't mean that per-hour subscriptions are a stupid idea.  I mean that restricting gaming time to save people from themselves is a stupid idea.

  2. 0
    beemoh says:

    For a subscription-based game, a per-hour sub is actually a decent idea, but only for the people at the other end of the spectrum who don't have ages to dedicate to the game and might only get an hour or two a week.

    For these people, it's better to be able to spend £10 or whatever knowing that there's ten hours of gameplay waiting for them than paying £10 every month for only a few bits of gameplay.


  3. 0
    NyuRena says:

    Guild wars 1 would pop up a message "You've been playing for X hour(s). Please take a break!" every hour, but after 3-4 hours it would just give up. =)

    I agree. Reminder based only.

  4. 0
    CMiner says:

    Should the government pass laws limiting exercising, gambling, eating, or any other thing that some people do obsessively/addictively?  There are plenty of other activities that have lots of examples of people doing to the point that other important areas of their lives suffer.

    Popping up a reminder in the game window to say things like "Hey, you've been actively playing for 6 hours." That's fine.  But artificially limiting game time in order to try and stop those who are addicted from playing too much?  No.  Any measure that would be fair to non-addicted players would be too easy to get around.  And any measure that couldn't be gotten around would be unfair to non-addicted players.

  5. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    I hate to say it, but some things can't be done 'server-side'. Sometimes the player has to manage himself. If that means some players fail school exams, lose jobs, get ill and/or potentially die from their own stupidity, so be it – culling the herd.

  6. 0
    beemoh says:

    The problem with automating such a system is threefold:

    1/ It doesn't differentiate between "addiction" and "new toy syndrome". If I hammer a game for ten hours straight on the day I bought it, that isn't because I'm addicted, it's because it's new and interesting.

    2/ It doesn't differentiate between "playing" and "not playing". Steam thinks I played Age Of Empires Online for three days straight because the launcher didn't close after I stopped playing and I didn't notice.

    A lot of people I know who play Football Manager leave it running in the background because, for a few idle minutes' play during an ad break or something, it's quicker to Alt-Tab in and out of the game than it is to wait for the game to load from nothing.

    Neither of us are addicted in any actual sense, but the numbers would say otherwise- and be wrong.

    3/ It's not going to work. If I'm "addicted" to games and your game kicks me out for playing for too long, then I'm going to close it and play another one until that kicks me out and I'll just close that one and play another one. Make it network-level? I'll just switch my xBox off and play PlayStation instead. Or I'll log out of one account and log into another.


  7. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    Yeah, the only way this would not come across as a ripoff/scam to subscribers is if subscriptions were per hour of play, rather than per month.  Even then, it's a pretty stupid idea.  Take responsibility for your own lives, people.

  8. 0
    Papa Midnight says:

    Speaking generically: I'd rather not have a nanny state and I'd rather not have a game hand-hold me like a child as to how long as I can and cannot play (though I admittedly don't play much in the way of MMOs).

    In the case of MMOs, I'd have to say that if I was paying a fee to use a service, I'd be rather upset if said service suddenly disconnected me due to reaching some arbitrarily set daily playing limit. That would be unacceptable and I'd never pay for that service again.

    People need to be adult about this and make the proper decisions as to what they feel is appropriate for them in terms of durations to (not) play for. Likewise, parents need to actually be parents and monitor their children's playtime and what they are playing. Neither the government nor the private industry should need to be arbiters here.


  9. 0
    GrimCW says:

    never mind the game had terrible optimization, botched quest system, and any number of other problems that people worried about and complained over beyond this issue.

    Not saying its not a bad move,as it would def drive me away if i had a few days off to waste and was PAYING FEE's just to play..


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