According to a new study by Brigham Young University, excessive gaming often leads to unhappy marriages, and in many cases, divorce. The Chicago Tribune reports:
The researchers surveyed 349 couples with at least one spouse who plays a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), such as World of Warcraft or Eve Online, about their marital satisfaction. World of Warcraft, by far the most popular MMORPG, has more than 12 million subscribers worldwide, about a quarter of them in North America. The median age of players is about 26, and more than a third are married.
The results confirmed what Neil Lundberg, one of the study’s authors, already suspected: “Gaming widows,” spouses who lose the attention of their significant other to gaming, aren’t happy with their marriages.
More than 65 percent of spouses who don’t play video games said they fight with their husband or wife about gaming, and 75 percent of respondents said that their spouse’s habit has negatively affected their marriage.
The survey findings seem to jive with a statistic I found from last year that claims 15% of divorces are due to game addiction.
Of course, the flip side to studies like these are those cases where gaming is a mutual passion, and something that spouses often share. When I played World of Warcraft, I knew plenty of married couples who had no issues logging four or more hours per day—as long as they were doing it together. I also knew people in the game who met, fell in love, and later married.
Moral of the story: couples that play together stay together!