Background of the study:
The aim of this paper is to investigate a comparatively untouched area of research into games and education: whether or not there is a link between the frequency with which computer and video games are played, and academic achievement, as measured by traditional examination results, of those who play them. An online game is a game played over some form of computer network. This almost always means the Internet or equivalent technology, but games have always used whatever technology was current: modems before the Internet, and hard wired terminals before modems. The expansion of online gaming has reflected the overall expansion of computer networks from small local networks to the Internet and the growth of Internet access itself. Online games can range from simple text based games to games incorporating complex graphics and virtual worlds populated by many players simultaneously. Many online games have associated online communities, making online games a form of social activity beyond single player games. The rising popularity of Flash and Java led to an Internet revolution where websites could utilize streaming video, audio, and a whole new set of user interactivity. When Microsoft began packaging Flash as a pre-installed component of IE, the Internet began to shift from a data/information spectrum to also offer on-demand entertainment. This revolution paved the way for sites to offer games to web surfers. Some online multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI and Lineage II charge a monthly fee to subscribe to their services, while games such as Guild Wars offer an alternative no monthly fee scheme. Many other sites relied on advertising revenues from on-site sponsors, while others, like RuneScape, or Tibia let people play for free while leaving the players the option of paying, unlocking new content for the members.
Ever advancing technology and production values related to video game development have fostered more life-like and complex games which have in turn introduced or enhanced genre possibilities (e.g., virtual pets), pushed the boundaries of existing video gaming or in some cases add new possibilities in play (such as that seen with titles specifically designed for devices like Sony's Eye Toy). Some genres represent combinations of others, such as massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or, more commonly, MMORPGs. It is also common to see higher level genre terms that are collective in nature across all other genres such as with action, music/rhythmorhorror-themedvideogames.(Wikipedia)
In the past, academic performance was often measured more by ear than today. Teachers' observations made up the bulk of the assessment, and today's summation, or numerical, method of determining how well a student is performing is a fairly recent invention. The hypothesis is that there may be statistically significant variations between gaming frequency and performance in examinations for certain academic subjects – for instance, whether frequent gamers perform better in technical subjects; or whether those who prefer games of certain genres, such as collaborative role-playing games, perform better in, say, humanities subjects. It is important to note at the outset that if such relationships do exist, it would be difficult if not impossible to determine any causal factors. It may be that students who perform well in certain subjects are already attracted to video games, perhaps more easily becoming addicted to them than those who perform less well. Only controlled experiments could uncover the possible fact that frequent game playing improves performance, or the reverse, and it would be a formidable feat to design an experiment which would give foolproof results since so many variables, known and unknown, are likely to have an effect. The aim of this...