Online Games: A New Type of Drug?

Actually it’s not that new, but it’s something I think that hasn’t really been discussed. Thousands of gamers log onto online games every day. It’s amazing the hours they spend on them.

Square Enix released a study about its online game Final Fantasy XI, which shows that gamers spend at least two to three hours daily on that game. I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XI for four years now. There were times where I would spend more than eight hours logged in.

Why is this? Why do people become so addicted to this kind of games more than others? The online community is what makes the difference in my opinion. People feel that they are a part of something big. Everyone has something in common in these games. They can be anyone they want and they can talk to anyone without the usual prejudice that you find in real life. This makes it so easy to start a “friendship” with anyone. I say “friendship” because most of the times the conversations don’t go past what’s going on in the game, people rarely talk about themselves. Feeling like you are a part of something is a good excuse for some people to forget about their friends in real life. A good excuse to forget their responsibilities. I’ve seen people miss work because there was an event in the game. A guy in one of my social groups in Final Fantasy almost missed the birth of his child because a big event was being held.

Since there is usually a lot of things you can do in these games you rarely feel bored, and when there is nothing to do you can always just talk to your in game friends.

In spite of having played the game for four years I still can’t figure out the exact reason why I’ve done so. Many times I’ve felt like quitting but I just can’t do it. That is the main reason I’m writing this. I just think it’s really wrong for people to forget about everything in life and make a game their number one priority. Now I’ve learned to balance real life with playing the game. I’m not into it like I was two years ago. I sit and think how many people are trapped in this type of games. And it’s not only games. Kids growing up with an Internet connection are turning into something I cannot put easily into words. Now instead of going out or talking on the phone they spend hours on an IMS. We can all find everything on the internet and every day we find less of a reason to go out. In the end I think it all ties in with games. It’s all about communication and freedom to do so with anyone we please.

Technology is meant to help us be more efficient to make things easier for us yet we misuse that technology and it turns out to be a problem. Games are constantly including more online elements now that the new generations of consoles allow this. I’m sure that the average time people, specially teenagers and young adults, spend playing online games will increase shortly. Do you think the problem will grow in the future? Do you know anyone or are you addicted to these games?

[tags]Online RPG[/tags]