Metrology
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 May 2013, 3:22 am
Metrology is the science of measurement. Sounds somewhat dry, but in fact in the discussion of MMORPGs questions of metrology pop up all the time, for example how to measure player numbers of a game. The issue is complicated because what we want to measure is often either a number that is not available, or something that is in fact not measurable at all, like how good a certain game is. So the approach generally is that you measure something you can measure, and then extrapolate.

That approach is also very standard when measuring opinion. Except for elections when large parts of the population express their opinion, opinions are usually measure by polls of a small sample which is then extrapolated. The main risk of that approach is that the sample might not be representative. For example if you want to know whether people like coffee or not, if you do your poll in a Starbucks, the result is quite likely misleading and not representative at all.

I was thinking of that when I saw that Rowan from I Have Touched the Sky made a poll on what people would like to buy in item shops in a Free2Play game. I would guess that the results are not representative at all, because "People who visit MMORPG blogs" are a non-representative sub-group of all MMORPG players. And "people who buy items in an item shop" are not only another sub-group, but in my opinion one that doesn't have much overlap with the sub-group of people discussing these games.

To express it simplified, I think that item shops have an increased attraction to people who don't have much time, but would like to progress in these time-intensive games faster than their available time permits. Contrary to that the people who hang out on blogs are more on the time-rich side of things, because not only do they have time to play those games, they also have the time to talk about them. That isn't to say that there is no overlap at all, I am both a blogger and an item shop customer. But in my opinion the overlap is small enough to make a poll non-representative. Time-rich people are more likely to vote for only fluff being available in item shops, while time-poor people are more likely to actually buy stuff that advances them in the game.
Tobold's Blog



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