It’s now become a long-running tradition on Massively OP to track science-related and science-adjacent stories that touch on the MMORPG world, but this past year’s pile is smaller than usual, for reasons that will surprise no one: the global pandemic dampened research around the globe. Plus, many of the companies and agencies that love the pound the “video games cause violence” and “video games cause metal health problems” drum sans evidence (both storylines that often make this roundup) were muffled as instead the world was encouraged to turn to online games and platforms for everything from work and education to socialization and entertainment. I mean, watching the World Health Organization pivot from “gaming disorder is real because China says” to “#PlayApartTogether to beat the coronavirus” – those were fun times, right?
But on the upside, the pandemic also pushed along science in other ways. Far and away the most important MMOs-and-science narrative of 2020 was the gamer response to fighting the pandemic, specifically with EVE Online, as CCP Games focused the latest prong of its citizen science initiative on COVID-19 research; it partnered with multiple universities on an EVE minigame that used a tracing tool to mark groups of cell populations in blood to give scientists a clearer idea of how different cell populations and types are altered through infection. As of September, gamers had completed over 41,000,000 classifications. Bravo, people.
We’ve gathered together the best science-related MMO articles on MOP from 2020 – don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz at the end. This time.
Fun fact: Google search trends don’t tell you bupkis about MMO popularity
CNBC runs down the debate of violent video games and their effect on gamers
More older adults play games than ever before, according to AARP study of people over 50
UK’s Royal Society for Public Health issues report on lootboxes and their effect on gambling perception
For Science: Academics blast APA’s updated resolution on games and aggression
For Science: New paper examines the whos and whys of online trolling
Microsoft is using cloud computing to make unbeatable raid bosses
For Science: Steam just told on itself with its new games performance analysis
EVE Online’s Project Discovery initiative tasks players with helping research COVID-19
The Daily Grind: Do you eat while playing MMORPGs?
MMO Business Roundup: PAX Online, PAX Aus, games for ADHD, Epic’s $17B valuation
What’s the biggest MMO in the world? That’s OK – this video doesn’t know either
Quantic Foundry surveys say gamers are seeking more relaxing and less intense gaming experiences during COVID-19
SuperData calls expansions the ‘lifeblood’ for World of Warcraft
COVID-19 roundup: How the pandemic has affected game devs, GameStop’s flip-flopping on mask wearing policy
For Science: Meta-analysis of aggression studies shows no link between aggression and video games
GDC Summer 2020: What online gaming can (and should) learn from social media’s trainwrecks
Social scientists study Minecraft and One Hour One Life communities
GDC Summer 2020: Better living, climate awareness, and citizen science through games
The Daily Grind: What’s the most annoying ‘dark pattern’ in MMO gaming?
For science: New UK study finds that video games improve the mental health, reading, and writing skills of kids
EVE Online players submitted over 41M classifications to fight COVID for CCP’s latest Project Discovery initiative
Star Citizen has 720K total backers and 34K subscribers according to gathered public data
Researchers argue Pokemon Go caused a discernable increase in car accidents, injuries, and deaths
EVE Online dev discusses how communities and lasting friendships form in the sandbox
For Science: Gaming is good for you, actually, suggests new Oxford study
New survey points to increase in hate and harassment in online multiplayer games
For Science: Researchers investigate why some players invert their directional controls
ToxMod is a new moderation tool that recognizes and reports voice chat hate speech in real-time
UK study says over 1 in 10 young gamers go into debt due to lootbox spending habits