Daedalus has posted a bunch of new stuff, including MMOG hours vs TV-watching hours.
In sum -- for most MMOG players, TV drops into the background, and the total consumption of MMOG + TV in MMOG players is equal to the national average of TV watching in the US. 28 ish hours each a week.
Is this restricted to just MMOG players? I doubt it. My TV consumption dropped when I discovered the internet, mIRC and multiplayer gaming - permanently. When I got bored of Quake, I replaced it with another game, not TV - but I'm advanced like that ;).
I have a few observations to chuck in here too:
- For the period playing the MMOG, previous visual media consumption will have to drop, at least initially. I've seen experienced players talk about their set-up - often they will have TV on alongside the game (especially when grinding experience points), but this is made possible by experienced players knowing how to write macros and therefore they only have to have minimal attention on the game itself. "Cross-media" consumption is certainly something we don't know enough about in general, but drawing from some BBC research, having TV on in the background has risen to approximately 50% in 2004 (from around 15% in the 1960s). That's a whole new role for TV: it's a secondary distraction, an added layer.
- There are some folk who will go from MMOG to MMOG, and others who will just play one, then give up. So, for some, a MMOG will be a temporary distraction, whereas for others it's a media 'career'. Temporary distraction from what? Again, more cross-media research necessary - if it's a temporary distraction from TV, then the data above will just be a 'dip'. If it's from something else, the data above is 'permanent'?
- I have heard too many people describe MMOGs as 'too much like hard work' or more commonly, 'I daren't play, I'll get sucked in and lose my life' for me not to ask: what's so scary about it, why can MMOGs be perceived as a waste of time when [more often] TV isn't? Is it perhaps tied to the repetitive "work" that is so often part of the game design?
- MMOGs are designed to be time-consumptive. A SWG guildmate yesterday told me that to go from Force Sensitive to Jedi Initiate will take a clean-up operation of 2.5 million creatures at 400 xp points each. Can't quite believe that, but I have heard that it would ordinarily take probably six months of every-day playing to hit mid-Jedi level from where I'm at now (with months under my belt already). Scary. Not sure it's worth it. See point above, although it could be if I was doing it with friends, see point below.
- MMOGs are an entirely different experience when you're playing with a friend from real life, someone you knew previous to the game. This kind of behaviour is generally age based too: early web and net communities, people would talk to total strangers just because they too were on the internet. These days, kids only talk to people they know already, friends from school. They have little need to talk to strangers. Ditto in a MMOG: schoolmates, brothers/sisters, clans of relatives in-game is not an uncommon sight. Hanging with your RL buddies is really fun.
I'm not surprised that TV takes the back seat to MMOG play, especially while the player has much to do in-game. However, I also think TV takes the back seat to a lot of things when given the chance: anything to do with socialising, and TV gets relegated, probably because during consumption, television is actually anti-social (or should that be anti-sociable?). It's social element comes in after the fact, during discussion of the content watched. MMOGs on the other hand are social during, as well as after, consumption.
Bloody interesting. Want to do a national study on this sort of thing.