Apparently playing MMOs are worse for your health than regular games, but they're also more fun, too. That's the conclusion of a Syracuse University study that sent groups of students out to play four types of games-- arcade games, a Gaunlet PS2 game, Diablo II, and Dark Age of Camelot. Apparently the DAoC folks reported that their game had a more adverse effect on their health, and that their social and student lives were more affected by their playtime.
But they also had more fun-- the students who played DAoC reported that they enjoyed their playtime more, and had even made more friends ingame than any of the other games. The professor who commissioned the study wisely strayed away from the word "addiction," and says that addiction is completely different than what happens to gamers. Instead, he says, more attention should be paid not to violence in games, but to the "enthrallment" factor. Some games are easy to pick up and put down, and other games, while more rewarding, are more likely to involve you as a player. Online games, says Raph Koster, are "more intense."
So I can't exactly tell what the study solves, but most of the reasoning sounds all right. My only worry is just how old the games are-- seriously, Gauntlet? Dark Age? It would be interesting to see if a more recent MMO (like LotRO or WoW) was able to balance the enthrallment/timesink factor a little better without losing the payoff.
[ via DungeonRun.com ]