The Demographics, Motivations and Derived Experiences of Users of Massively Multi-User Online Graphical Environments

Nick Yee


Online survey data were collected from 30,000 users of Massively Multi-User Online RolePlaying Games (MMORPGs) over a three year period to explore users’ demographics, motivations and derived experiences. Not only do MMORPGs appeal to a broad age range (Mage= 26.57, range = 11-68), but the appeal is strong (on average 22 hours of usage per week) across users of all ages (r = -.04). An exploratory factor analysis revealed a five factor model of user motivations - Achievement, Relationship, Immersion, Escapism and Manipulation - illustrating the multi-faceted appeal of these online environments. Male players were significantly more likely to be driven by the Achievement and Manipulation factors, while female players were significantly more likely to be driven by the Relationship factor. Also, the data indicated that users derived meaningful relationships, salient emotional experiences as well as real-life leadership skills from these virtual environments. MMORPGs are not simply a pastime for teenagers, but a valuable research venue and platform where millions of users interact and collaborate using real-time 3D avatars on a daily basis.



Research shows that there is a high level of emotional attachment to the environment.
there is a strong amount of leadership development involved.
These environments are uniquely social

APA Citation

Yee, N. (2006). The demographics, motivations, and derived experiences of users of massively multi-user online graphical environments. Presence: Teleoperators and virtual environments, 15(3), 309-329.

About the Study

Links to Article
Mode Online
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication Presence: Teleoperators and virtual environment
Type of Research Quantitative
Research Design Survey research (qualitative or quantitative)
Intervention/Areas of Study
Level of Analysis
Specific Populations Examined
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest
Specific Course or Program Characteristics
Outcome Variables of Interest Program effectiveness
Student Sample Size 500 +
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