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On the eve of the Presidential debate, where were the gamers?

Discussion in 'WoW Stratics Announcements' started by WoWNews, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. WoWNews

    WoWNews RSS Feed
    RSS Feed Stratics Veteran

    Jul 17, 2008
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    On the eve of the first U.S. Presidential debate, in an election where the turnout of younger voters (including gamers) is the highest it has ever been, how many of them were actually watching the candidates tonight? Are gamers paying attention to the political issues that can affect the future of the industry? Let's not joke around with the numbers here: plenty of people are watching this election. When President Bush gave a televised speech on the economic crisis this week, over 50 million viewers tuned in. How many of them were gamers? Nobody's tracking those kinds of numbers. But if gamers aren't paying attention, they should be. The crisis has the potential to affect the games industry, and in particular the MMO section of the industry. Launching an MMO takes enormous amounts of startup capital, money that comes from not just "angel" investors but also from large investment banks like Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, etc. Even sites that let you buy and sell gold have investment capital from these large banks, sometimes in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars. Make no mistake, the economic crisis (and by corollary, the candidates' response to the crisis) will have great effects on the industry.

    So how many gamers were watching the Presidential debate tonight? As I mused over at AoC Stratics, we don't (and probably won't) know the exact numbers, but we can take a guess empirically by checking the MMORPGs tonight. So, during the debate, I logged into the various MMOs that I play (currently Tabula Rasa, Warhammer Online, EVE Online, and Age of Conan), and I looked to see if the game looked "empty". And to my surprise, they weren't any more empty than usual. In fact, Tabula Rasa has more people running around on the Pegasus (US East) server than I typically see; Age of Conan had the usual inane chatter going on, and I had no problem finding people in Warhammer to help me out with Public Quests. The only game that seemed slightly more empty than usual was EVE, but perhaps that's because it's so much easier to multitask while playing EVE due to UI designs.

    Were gamers really not paying attention to the debates? There's not really enough evidence to come to that conclusion at present. For starters, there are plenty of gamers out there that are under 18 and not eligible to vote. It's a Friday night after all, so this is a good night for them to stay in and get some raiding in without mom and dad complaining that it's a school night. Not everyone playing on US servers is in fact from the US; I remember playing World of Warcraft back shortly after launch and wondering why so many Australians were playing on my server. EVE may be more susceptible to this than the others, in that whether it's deserved or not (or even correct or not) it has a reputation for a very international playerbase. And also to be fair, lower-level players, and players not doing raiding and complex grinding could well have been playing and watching at the same time. The truth is, we'll never really know how much attention gamers are paying in this election until the pollsters start actively involving and targeting gamers. In the wake of recent studies from the Pew Internet group saying that nearly ever kid is a gamer, and considering that young voters have been becoming more and more active in voter turnout and more outspoken, we are fast approaching a time where politicians can no longer afford to ignore gamers, and gamers can no longer afford to ignore politicians. I don't hold out a lot of hope that we'll have these polls of gamers in time for next week's vice-presidential debate, but it would certainly be nice. In a time when we have a vice-presidential candidate accused of considering censorship of books, the importance of political involvement by gamers has never been greater.



  2. Emuishere

    Emuishere Guest

    We have a TV in our PC room, muhahahaha!