Online Multiplayer Video Games Create Greater Negative Consequences, Elicit Greater Enjoyment than Traditional Ones ScienceDaily (Oct. 22, 2007) — Online video games with thousands of simultaneous players, such as “World of Warcraft,” have become hugely popular in the last two decades and are now a multibillion dollar industry with tremendous financial success. Joshua Smyth, associate professor of psychology in The College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, recently conducted a randomized trial study of college students contrasting the effects of playing online socially interconnected video games with more traditional single-player or arcade-style games. ________________________________________
While both multiplayer and traditional single player video games present a double-edged sword, Smyth’s research found that online, socially integrated multiplayer games create greater negative consequences (decreased health, well-being, sleep, socialization and academic work) but also garner far greater positive results (greater enjoyment in playing, increased interest in continuing play and a rise in the acquisition of new friendships) than do single-player games. “The most striking result of this study is that playing online multiplayer games had much greater positive and negative effects on people than playing traditional single-player video games,” says Smyth. “Students in the study who played online multiplayer games did so about three times as much as those playing single-player game types, averaging over 14 hours a week.” In his study, Smyth randomly assigned 100 college student volunteers to play one of four types of video games: traditional, arcade-style games (such as those found in the local mall); console games like the Sony PlayStation; single player computer games; and fantasy-themed persistent online multiplayer games. Computer networking—linking players from across the world together in a single game—has dramatically changed the nature of video...
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