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UK Divorce Company Reports Spike in MMO-Related Separations

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According to the Daily Mail, UK Divorce company Divorce Online has seen a spike in separations attributed to MMOs since its last investigation of the phenomenon. Previously, the company reported that 5% of divorces predicated on "unreasonable behaviour" were related to a partner being too absorbed in video games; now, they are reporting that in their most current study that number tripled to 15%. Apparently World of Warcraft and Call of Duty are singled out as culprits in many of these divorces.

Meanwhile, Eurogamer provides a fantastic and much more in-depth follow up to the Daily Mail article. Digging deeper, Eurogamer found that for each divorce in which gaming was mentioned as a factor, other factors were also cited as grounds for the split - a fact that throws water on the idea that gaming is the sole, or even primary cause for divorce in these cases. There's much more to their dissection of the issue, but rather than regurgitating it I'll suggest you click on over.

While the initial reaction by this writer and video game fanatic was skepticism (this isn't scholarly research, there's a sampling bias inherent to the users of this "divorce service" website, research sponsored by those with a financial interest has to be held to extra scrutiny, the Daily Mail article quotes an unnamed and unreferenced "expert" who claims "that World of Warcraft is more addictive than cocaine" and then trots out a therapist who tries to link gaming to addiction theory), not only am I aware of examples of relationships that broke up or almost broke up in which MMO playing was a significant issue (or perhaps a symptom of an underlying problem?), but I've also heard grumbling about people losing their significant others to "addictive" games in forums and on websites both game-related and not all over the internet (to wit: WOW widows, and numerous groups on facebook). While anecdotes and reports from businesses don't add up to scholarly research, these are the places where it often comes from. Perhaps it's time?

7 Comments

magritte said:

I suspect that at least some of the people whose marriages are damaged by too much WoW or CoD play are playing the games as an escape from their bad marital relationships...ie., the gameplay is a symptom rather than a cause

Reech said:

However, being in a Daily Mail article, you already need to know that anything to do with computer games, immigrants or gays is BAD AND CAN CAUSE DIVORCE WHICH IS LEADING TO THE MORAL DECLINE OF OUR NATION AND OH BY THE WAY HERE'S ANOTHER RETROSPECTIVE OF PRINCESS DIANA.

And yeah, echo magritte; games can be used as an excuse to split, rather than being a cause.

AJ said:

Conversely, one of my friends' mum met their 2nd Husband playing Runescape...

Games can also bring people together as well.

Charlie said:

What I find funny (as an avid wow player) is that on many wow blogs when this comes up my fellow wow players all begin a chorus of "It's good to have separate hobbies."

Separate hobbies yes but not ones that you engage in for four hours a night five nights a week. Just my two cents.

Limeade said:

Games can definitely be devisive in a relationship, just as much as they can bring relationships together. It really depends upon the couple. For some, playing games together is considered a 'couple time' bonding experience. For others, it can be a point of argument -- especially if one person is putting more time into a game than they are into a relationship.

Wolf said:

On the other hand, I've met my past two boyfriends on online games. Both were pretty long-term as well.
Oh yes, and ANYTHING read in the Daily Mail should be taken with enough salt to make the dead sea look bland.

Rule number one: do NOT ever take what the Daily Mail as having any shred of truth, it's a british fear/hate mongering tabloid that should not be given any recognition.

Journalism fail...

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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