Lineage lawsuit, License wars and MMO Addiction

It’s not unusual to hear about players suing software companies because of some kind of “collateral effect” of their games.  But, generally, those cases end up when the software license agreement is taken in consideration. That’s why I didn’t play any attention at all to that Hawaiian guy suing NCSoft for making Lineage ][ so “addictive” . But now this man  has scored a win against NCSoft in a really rare situation.

His first claims were, according to freedom to tinker: (1) misrepresentation/deceit, (2) unfair and deceptive trace practices, (3) defamation/libel/slander, (4) negligence, (5) gross negligence, (6) intentional infliction of emotional distress, (7) negligent infliction of emotional distress and (8) punitive damages. Again, according to  freedom to tinker,

The U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii ruled that the plaintiff’s gross negligence claims could proceed against the software company and that the contractual limitation of liability did not foreclose a potential recovery of punitive damages based on such claims. Furthermore, the matter remains in federal court in Hawaii notwithstanding a forum selection clause (section 15 of the User Agreement) in which the user apparently agreed “that any action or proceeding instituted under this Agreement shall be brought only in State courts of Travis County, State of Texas.”

Not only this resolution will put in debate how companies do their license agreements and, probably, leading to a stiffening of the current license agreements, but also make us wonder about the frontiers between addictiveness and self-control. Putting in other words, how far can we control our urge to play?

MMO researcher Nick Yee conducted a survey in which data from 30,000 users of MMORPGs were collected. According to his  research, “the appeal [for playing MMORPGs] is strong (on average 22 hours of usage per week) across users of all ages”. That’s pretty much a half day job per week, which is a lot of time, but I think I don’t need to remind you that the average time Americans spent time on TV is about 35 hours per week.

Another interesting thing on Yee’s research is that 15.8% of male players and 59.8% of female players played with a romantic partner, while 25.5% of male players and 39.5% of female players participated with a family member. Those percentages ans statistics prove nothing by themselves, but one can infer that the average MMORPG player plays a reasonable amount of time, but far less from the addicted level, otherwise the average American would be more-than addicted to television. Also, it’s evident that almost half of those players don’t penetrate in those world to completely forget the real world since they play with family  members/romantic partners.

So, if those games are really addictive, how come such expressive amount of players are not addicted to the point to divert from reality as our friend from Hawaii? [Continues]

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