Virtual Worlds Survey Report Yields Interesting Results

Back in 2012 some researchers decided that they wanted to conduct a survey on virtual worlds. Now, over two years on, the results of that survey have been revealed and the results are rather fascinating : Virtual Worlds Survey Report – A Trans-World Study Of Non-Game Virtual Worlds –Demographics, Attitudes, And Preferences.

The survey has been published by :

  • Celia Pearce – Game designer, author, researcher and teacher.
  • Bobby R. Blackburn – Independent game designer and research consultant.
  • Carl Symborski – Chief Engineer at Leidos Inc.

The survey doesn’t just focus on Second Life as a virtual world, its scope goes beyond that. However I’m going to focus on some Second Life aspects. The first one that strikes me as very interesting is that the survey results suggest that Second Life residents roleplay more than people who play MMORPG’s. The reason for this, the report suggests, is that people who play games focus on content, whereas Second Life residents focus more on creative and social aspects, such as roleplaying and dancing. Dancing as it turns out is very popular in Second Life.

Another point from the survey results of those who responded from Second Life is that the average age was 37. This isn’t that much higher than the average age I’ve seen reported from surveys about gamers.

Another point about Second Life is more about how the publishers sought responses. They didn’t just go to the official Second Life forum. They advertised on SLUniverse and New World Notes. This suggests that they had a bit of a clue about how virtual communities can utilise websites and forums away from the official sites.

As for the survey overall, there are some interesting results. These results are for all of the virtual worlds covered, not just Second Life. In terms of age :

  • 18 – 28 : 17.5%
  • 29 – 47 : 45.2%
  • 48 – 66 : 36.2%
  • 67+       : 1.1%

In terms of gender :

  • Male : 37.9%
  • Female : 59.8%
  • Transgender : 2.3%

These were responses about real life gender and a very interesting fact about the Transgender percentage is that this is much higher than the US Census figure of 0.3%.

In terms of race the picture is a little less diverse than US census figures :

  • White/Caucasian : 81.9%
  • Black : 3.8%
  • Asian : 1.8%
  • Other Race Alone : 4.8%
  • Mixed 7.8%

The figure for White/Caucasian is higher than the US Census data of 74.1%, Mixed at 7.8% is also higher than US Census data of 5.7% whereas the other figures are below US Census figures.

In terms of disability, 20.1% responded yes, they have a disability. This is higher than the US Census data of 14.7%.

I’m not going to analyse these figures and there’s much more in the survey,regarding demographics etc. If you have time, it’s an interesting read.


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