|Issue 27, June 2004
Demographics Questionnaire - Part 1
The last issue of the Muddled Times issued the first ever MUDII player demographic questionnaire, to which we received a total of 39 responses from readers. The results to the first half of the questions posed have been summarised and analysed:
Q1: Are you male or female?
79.5%, 31 players responded male.
20.5%, 8 players responded female.
An obviously overwhelming male response. The result provides evidence for what we always knew, that male players outnumber female players by a significant majority. The issue of gender in MUD2 is a well-documented issue, with the most current debate occurring within a series of Muddled-Times discussions with groups of players.
Q2: How long have you been playing MUDII/Wireplay MUD2 for?
Answers range from 'less than a year'/'six months', to around 8 years (or shortly after the creation of Wireplay).
The average length of play for MUDii/Wireplay is approximately 3 years. The results of the questionnaire show that there is a considerably dedicated number who have been playing this incarnation since its conception. However on the lower side of the scale there is a significantly less optimistic viewpoint, from those who responded to the questionnaire only about three people have been playing for less than a year. It is, perhaps, important to note the nature of such questionnaires and that more entrenched players are more likely to offer a response.
Q3: How long have you been playing any MUD2 for?
A small number have been playing across versions since the early eighties, often their first experiences with the game were 15-20 years ago. For other users the period of time is less extensive, the smallest being those who have solely used the MudII service.
It is clear that many of the players currently on Mudii began playing with Wireplay and have continued since that service ended. Only a minority exist from the very early days of MUD2 and there are a surprisingly small number of responses from users beyond these early versions but pre-Wireplay. From this evidence we can conclude that Wireplay was an extremely successful mechanism in introducing new players to the game.
Q4: How long have you been playing any MU* for?
Almost all users appear to only have ever played (or at least, we assume, played significantly) MUD2. This suggests, perhaps, two possibilities: MUD2 is so good that there is no need to play other MUDs or MUD2 has a playing style unique from others available, thus other MU* do not hold the same attraction.
It is interesting to note that many of the earlier players of MUD2 have had at least some experience with other MU* games. The reasoning behind this could lie in the limited number of Internet users, and the attraction of certain networks at the time (e.g. PRESTEL).
Q5: How old are you?
Youngest players are in late teens, while the older limit maxes out in the early forties.
It is clear, however, that despite older players clearly being in existence younger players outnumber them. In particular, there is a high concentration of responses from users in their late-teens/early twenties. When compared with the 'male/female' question it appears that MUD2 players fit suspected general Internet demographic.
Q6: What age did you first start playing a MU*?
As Q4 shows that many players have only primarily played MUD2, the age range takes a small shift downward.
A few of the youngest MU* players are pre-teens and early teens (the players who have become, perhaps, the most predominantly common in MUDii). It is apparent that very few players took up the game later in life, the older players in the game almost always began playing when they were younger.
Q7: Have you taken breaks from the game lasting more than 6 months?
Five people, from those asked, have not taken breaks. Excepting one person who didn't respond to that question everyone else has taken a break at some point in their MUD career.
Of those who had not taken breaks the majority had been playing for around a year (or less). Although at least one player has not taken a break from playing for around 6 years.
It is clear very few players can sustain constant play for many years, and invariably have to take a significant break away from the game.
Q8: If yes, what was the total amount of time you spend away from the game?
Answers vary from around 8 months up to around 10 years.
It is clear that players often break away from the game for very long periods of time, the most common answers were generally a couple of years.
Q9: Approximately how long have you been playing the game, excluding breaks?
The responses ranged from new player who have been playing, without breaks, for a few months, which compared to a minority who have played for around ten years, taking no breaks.
The game appears to be able to inspire great dedication among a minority of players, a couple reporting playing for very long stretches of time (although all of these players have taken a break at some point). The general average for playing the game without breaks is a steady 2 to 3 years, still suggesting that the game can hold on to players for a significant time.
This analysis is concluded in the next issue of the Muddled Times.
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