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Study Says Online Gamers Aren’t Loners Who Lock Themselves In Their Basements Anymore

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Man playing video game at home Nazra Zahri / Getty Images

"Gamers aren’t the antisocial basement-dwellers we see in pop culture stereotypes"

A new study finds that the typical 2014 gamer doesn’t fit the old, reductive stereotypes.

“Gamers aren’t the antisocial basement-dwellers we see in pop culture stereotypes, they’re highly social people,” Dr. Nick Taylor, North Caroline State communications professor and lead author, said in a release. “This won’t be a surprise to the gaming community, but it’s worth telling everyone else. Loners are the outliers in gaming, not the norm.”

Taylor and other researchers attended 20 different gaming events in the UK and Canada, with crowds ranging from 2,500 to 20 gamers. After surveying almost 400 World of Warcraft and company gamer lovers, Taylor said, “We found that gamers were often exhibiting many social behaviors at once: watching games, talking, drinking, and chatting online. Gaming didn’t eliminate social interaction, it supplemented it.”

Of course considering that Taylor and company’s sole sampling was based on people who not only left the metaphorical — or literal — basement to go to a convention, but also felt comfortable enough to give in-depth interviews with strangers, the end results might be a little skewed.

Still, this isn’t the only recent research that has aimed to disprove the slovenly gamer stereotype. A 2013 German study of 2,500 gamers, whittled down from an original sample of 50,000 people, found that:

Online players do not seem to be more lazy, overweight, or unathletic than offline or nonplaying participants, as they all reported similar levels of exercise, nor are particularly unpopular, socially inept, isolated, or reclusive, as online players reported equivalent levels of quality friendships and sociability as compared to the other groups, as well as a greater social motivation to play than offline players.

Although people who gamed “all the time” did suffer.

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