Effects of Passion for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games on Interpersonal Relationships

Sonja Utz*, Kai J. Jonas, Ellen Tonkens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Game research suffers from using a variety of concepts to predict the (often negative) effects of playing games. These concepts often overlap (e.g., addiction or pathological gaming), include negative consequences in their definition, or are very game-specific (e.g., collective play). We argue that the field would benefit from using concepts that are well-established in other domains. Extending earlier work to the interpersonal domain, we examined the effects of obsessive and harmonious passion for massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) on the number and quality of online and offline friendships. Obsessive passion describes an irrepressible urge to engage in an activity, whereas harmonious passion describes the voluntary engagement in an activity. In an online survey of 406 MMORPG players, we found differential relationships between obsessive and harmonious passion and the number and quality of online and offline friendships. The results confirmed the usefulness of the dualistic model of passion for consequences of online gaming.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-86
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Media Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • passion
  • interpersonal relationships
  • online friendships
  • offline friendships

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