Study says social game cheaters more likely to cheat in real life

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.

“It’s 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.”

Offering 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.

Interestingly 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.

Overall, 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?



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  • profile0000 - January 11, 2012 2:07 p.m.

    Well, Britons pay much more in taxes than most Americans, so I gotta think that has a lot to do with the twice as high tax-cheater rate. Interesting stats, nonetheless.
  • xerroz - January 12, 2012 5:21 a.m.

    Except A LOT and i mean A LOT more is done with the taxes taken from Britons than Americans. A big chunk of taxes taken from Americans just seems to poof
  • profile0000 - January 17, 2012 5:14 p.m.

    I'm not being critical of the UK or her taxing policies at all, just making an assumption that a much higher tax rate (Britain) would give someone more incentive to cheat than a much lower one (America).
  • talleyXIV - January 11, 2012 1:27 p.m.

    Well my motto is "If everyone else is doing it, why can't I?"
  • wadesmit - January 11, 2012 12:35 p.m.

    They kind of twist these statistics around. The truth is, people who are naturally deceitful, will probably cheat in games if they do play them. They don't end up being less honest in reality because of them cheating in games, it's just who they are.
  • Ubnoxish - January 11, 2012 11:44 a.m.

    Test cheaters and liars abour lying and cheating...that just doesnt seem like it could bring much real info. Honestly, I think the UK is more honest if they admit to more lying.
  • radiodeaf - January 11, 2012 11:29 a.m.

    I think, like most of these studies, it's half ass. Of course some poor sap will believe the results without looking at how they gathered said results. How far did they take this...what social aspects were present to cause cheating and how truthful are those taking the poll. etc etc.. too many questions and little info... seems about right for most of these type of polls.
  • Dman3981 - January 11, 2012 12:14 p.m.

    And an even better question... who cares?

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