Back to Worldplay Project Overview

What is the purpose of this research project?

The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the gaming subculture, as well as the effects of transnational communication and region-locking on the gaming industry.
Why should I care?
Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (MMORPG) are frequently overlooked by contemporary researchers. However, the number of people that are playing online games is growing rapidly, and the skills that they learn in video games will become very useful as globalization continues to influence the business world. Gamers are learning important leadership and communication skills, as well as getting the opportunity to interact with diverse people from other cultures.
Should I be worried about any answers I give during interviews being linked back to my avatar in the game or to my real-life identity?
No. Any information shared with us will be added to our data, but your name and avatar name will not be made public.
What makes you qualified to study MMOs?

We are communication scholars at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. The researchers participating in the project come from a variety of different disciplines and backgrounds. Many of us are avid gamers in our spare time.

How are you going about conducting your research?

We are conducting our research by speaking with players, game developers, and games researchers. We are reaching out through forums, surveys, in-world communication, reading work published by other researchers, blogs and newsletters. At this point, we are casting a wide net in order to identify a broad range of perspectives. This is not an in-depth ethnographic study, and it is not a randomly sampled survey that attempts to make broad generalizations about gamers as a whole.

Some of the best research we can get is feedback from people who play the games-- either through talking with us online, taking our survey or taking the time to provide us with additional information through email or the Worldplay forums.

Are you going to publish this research anywhere?
Right here! We have already started sharing findings with the public through this site.
Okay, but do you know anything about research or research ethics?
Yes. Careful attention to research ethics is a core concern within the Trinity University curriculum, and our project has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at Trinity University. For more information, see the Procedures governing use of human subjects at Trinity University.
I'm sick and tired of being surveyed to death. Is this project going to do that?
We certainly hope not! All of the researchers are committed to becoming a part of the community in the game they are playing. Each student spends a minimum of five hours every week playing their MMO. Many spend far more time than that. It is our intent to make sure that this does not become a 'hit and run' research project.
What on earth is a Worldplay?
Worldplay is the name of the guild our research group created on the DDO forums. We feel that that name encompasses the ideas and goals behind this research project.
Alright, sounds interesting. What can I do to help?
Anyone who is interested in participating must be over 18. If you're interested in participating in our research, take the survey! You can also take a look around this site, leave a comment on our forum, or explore (and comment on) the researcher's blogs.
What if I have more questions?
Email the lead investigator, Dr. Aaron Delwiche, at
Related links

"Ethical decision making and Internet research"
Recommendations from the working committee of the Association of Internet Researchers.

Researchers Blogs Find out what we've been up to! Read our Gamer Profiles, our own ideas for unique video games, and view the course syllabus.

Last modified: February 12, 2010