London, January 10, 2012 — PopCap Games, maker of some of the world’s most popular video games, today unveiled the results of a survey exploring the habits of the more than 10 million people who cheat at social video games in the U.S. and U.K.
According to the survey of more than 1,200 adult consumers, nearly half (48%) of people who admit to cheating in social video games also admit to cheating in real life – compared to just 14% of those who don’t cheat in social video games. From stealing hotel towels to cheating on their taxes, social game cheaters are nearly 3.5 times as likely to be dishonest in the real world than non-cheaters.
The full report, conducted by Information Solutions Group, is available for download at 2011 PopCap Social Gaming Cheaters vs. Non-Cheaters Research
UK Cheats Ahead…
The report discovered that 118 million people regularly play social games in the U.S. and U.K. – and of those, 11% of people who play social games in the U.K. cheat, compared to 7% of U.S. players who cheat.
Men most likely to cheat
The report also found that although the total number of women playing social games outpaces men 55% to 45%, men are more likely to cheat in social games than women (54% to 46%). In addition, 72% of cheaters are under the age of 40.
“How we behave in virtual space and interact with others in social games often mirrors how we act in the real world,” said Professor Clay Routledge of North Dakota State University’s Department of Psychology. “With more than 100 million people playing social games regularly, we can expect to see the full range of psychological characteristics represented in the social gaming population – even cheating.”
Key findings of the report include:
- 53% of people who cheat in social games report cheating on tests at school
- U.K. cheaters are significantly more likely to cheat on their taxes than U.S. cheaters (58% versus 33%)
- Overall 51% of people who cheat at social games report stealing towels, cups or other items from hotels (compared to just 14% of those who said they don’t cheat at social games). In the UK that rises to 60%
- 51% of people who cheat at social games report parking in handicap spaces despite not being eligible (compared to only 12% of those who don’t cheat in social games). In the UK, 48% of cheating respondents would take the handicapped space.
- Overall 49% of people who cheat at social games report cheating on a committed relationship. In the UK, that figure increases to 51%
- 47% of people who cheat at social games report stealing packets of sugar, butter or jam from a restaurant
- 43% of people who cheat at social games report stealing magazines from a waiting room
“It’s not surprising that online cheating parallels real-world cheating, even if people are just experimenting with the possibilities,” said Dr. Mia Consalvo of Concordia University. “With more of our daily systems and processes moving online, and being divorced from human contact (downloading music, filing taxes online) the risks either appear to be lesser, or they don't feel like crimes.”
Information Solutions Group conducted this research exclusively for PopCap Games. The results are based on 1,201 online surveys completed by members of Toluna’s Internet ePanel in the United States and United Kingdom between September 15 and September 22, 2011. Of the 1,201 respondents, 801 (67%) are from the U.S., while 400 (33%) are from the U.K. To qualify for participation, individuals must play social games for more than 15 minutes a week. This social game playing audience consisted of 101 cheaters and 1,100 non-cheaters. In theory, in 19 cases out of 20, the results will differ by no more than 2.5 percentage points from what would have been obtained by seeking out and polling all U.S. and U.K. Internet users age 18 and over. Smaller subgroups reflect larger margins of sampling error. Other sources of error, such as variations in the order of questions or the wording within the questionnaire, may also contribute to different results.
PopCap Games is the leading global developer, publisher and operator of casual video games: fun, easy-to-learn, captivating games that appeal to all ages across PC, mobile, social and other platforms. Based in Seattle, Washington, PopCap was founded in 2000, was acquired by Electronic Arts in 2011, and has a worldwide staff of more than 500 people in Seattle, San Francisco, Vancouver, B.C., Dublin, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo. PopCap’s games have been downloaded over 1.5 billion times by consumers worldwide, and its flagship franchise, Bejeweled ®, has sold more than 50 million units.
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