Issue
EPL
Volume 88, Number 4, November 2009
Article Number 48007
Number of page(s) 6
Section Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1209/0295-5075/88/48007
Published online 03 December 2009
EPL, 88 (2009) 48007
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/88/48007

Online-offline activities and game-playing behaviors of avatars in a massive multiplayer online role-playing game

Zhi-Qiang Jiang1, 2, 3, Wei-Xing Zhou1, 2, 3, 4 and Qun-Zhao Tan5

1   School of Business, East China University of Science and Technology - Shanghai 200237, PRC
2   School of Science, East China University of Science and Technology - Shanghai 200237, PRC
3   Research Center for Econophysics, East China University of Science and Technology - Shanghai 200237, PRC
4   Research Center on Fictitious Economics and Data Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences - Beijing 100190, PRC
5   Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd - Shanghai 201203, PRC

wxzhou@ecust.edu.cn

received 29 July 2009; accepted in final form 3 November 2009; published November 2009
published online 3 December 2009

Abstract
Massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are very popular in China, which provides a potential platform for scientific research. We study the online-offline activities of avatars in an MMORPG to understand their game-playing behavior. The statistical analysis unveils that the active avatars can be classified into three types. The avatars of the first type are owned by game cheaters who go online and offline in preset time intervals with the online duration distributions dominated by pulses. The second type of avatars is characterized by a Weibull distribution in the online durations, which is confirmed by statistical tests. The distributions of online durations of the remaining individual avatars differ from the above two types and cannot be described by a simple form. These findings have potential applications in the game industry.

PACS
87.23.Ge - Dynamics of social systems.
89.65.-s - Social and economic systems.
89.75.-k - Complex systems.

© EPLA 2009