The Digital Drivetrain
The automotive world's transition into the age of digital media

Lonely World of Warcraft

In class we have recently been discussing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and how they pertain to a digital lifestyle. During our discussion I posed an interesting concept to the class and I feel it’s worth discussing on here. The question was this: Can a person satisfy their need for belonging and love by using only digital relationships? To put it simply; can the guy in his basement playing World of Warcraft be just as happy as the guy watching the big game surrounded by friends in his living room?

Although I personally do not see a fully digital social experience working out, I do see some potential in it. There are many people out there who simply do not have any social skills. They clam up when they meet new people and social interaction just isn’t their thing. There is nothing particularly wrong with this but many of them are very self conscious about it and their loneliness can lead to depression and other mental problems. When they are put in front of a computer and playing one of these online games, they can be as social as they always wished they were. With the security of the internet between them and the people they are playing with, they gain the self confidence to truly connect with people and can make a lot more friends via these games than they ever would in a face to face environment. This gives them a sort of outlet in which they can really gain some self confidence and maybe even make a few friends, which is a very good thing.

The problem really kicks in with the fact that it is not reality and eventually they will have to turn these games off and deal with the real world. Getting back to Maslow, one can not live without their basic needs; food, water, shelter and security. There is not many practical ways for one to make money without leaving your house and no employer will tolerate someone sitting there playing video games. If one were to rely on a video game to have friends and connect to people, when they are forced back into society they will likely be depressed that their lives are so much bleaker than their character’s. This will only lead to more depression and anxiety and could create a bigger problem than just not playing the game at all.

Face the facts people; you have to leave the computer eventually. The power will go out, you will need to get food and when you get up you might realize that while you have been gaming your life has gone into an even deeper slump. Don’t rely on online games for anything other than what they are truly meant for; short term entertainment, NOT social belonging.


One Response to “Lonely World of Warcraft”

  1. I agree with your point that they will eventually need to go outside to get food, make money, etc. But my question back to you is, even if they do this, can’t they still get their dose of socialization online? Isn’t the money and food thing something else? It kind of feels likes we are blurring the lines of those other needs with socialization.

    Personally though, I agree with you. How boring would a life like that be, eh?

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