Nearly half of all people who cheat in
social games are less than honorable in real life, suggests a study
out of PopCap Games. According to a survey of 1201 US and UK adult
gamers, 48% of responders who admitted to cheating in-game also
admitted to lying, cheating, or stealing in other aspects of their
lives. That is compared to the paltry 14% of non-cheaters who also
admitted to cutting a few corners in the real world.
not surprising that online cheating parallels real-world cheating,
even if people are just experimenting with the possibilities,”
reasoned Dr. Mia Consalvo of Concordia University. “With more of
our daily systems and processes moving online, and being divorced
from human contact (downloading music, filing taxes online) the risks
either appear to be lesser, or they don't feel like crimes.”
a few specifics, the report indicated 53% of social game cheaters
said they had cheated on tests at school, over 43% revealed they'd
stolen condiments from restaurants, and nearly half admitted to
stepping out on a committed relationship.
enough, the UK study participants were shown to be more dishonest than their US counterparts. According to the report, of the estimated 118 million
people who play social games on a regular basis in the two countries,
11% were cheaters from the UK, while 7% came from the US. Moreover,
it was deduced that UK cheaters were two times more likely to cheat
on their taxes than US ne'er-do-wells. Tsk tsk.
PopCap's study should be taken with a gigantic, asteroid-sized grain
of salt. After all, 1201 is an extremely small representation of the
entire gaming demographic, and the study's fine print indicates US
participants outnumbered the UK lab rats by 801 to 400—which is
bound to skew the numbers just a little. If anything, however, the
report raises some interesting questions as to the psyche of videogame cheaters. What do you make of the results?