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Unmasking the Avatar: The Demographics of MMO Player Motivations, In-Game Preferences, and Attrition (21 Sep 2004)
As expected, male players scored higher on the Achievement and Competition factors, while female players scored higher on the two Socializing factors. The gender differences in the Achievement and Serious Socializing factors were most salient. There were no gender differences with regards to the Immersion and Escapism factors. Age was negatively correlated with the Achievement, Casual Socializing, and Competition factors. In other words, older players tended to score lower on these factors than younger players.

Hours of play per week were most correlated with the Achievement, Serious Socializing and Escapism factors. The difference in hours of play between the top and bottom quintiles of the Achievement factor is 6.5 hours, and 5 hours between the top and bottom quintiles of both the Serious Socializing and Escapism factors.

While one might have imagined that scoring high on any factor would lead to higher time investment in the game, this is not the case. The data implies that there are 3 specific playing behaviors that lead to heavy usage. First are players who are hooked on getting to the next level or better gear. Many of these players are probably actually hooked onto the behavioral conditioning of MMORPG design4. Second, there are players who are deeply embedded into social networks in their community. They spend a lot of time in the game because this is where their friends are. And finally, there are players who spend time in the game to avoid dealing with issues in their real life. For some of them, the "push" of avoiding the real world may be stronger than the "pull" of entering a fantasy world.
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