A researcher at University of California at Irvine got $100,000 from the National Science Foundation to study how Americans play the popular online game World of Warcraft, The Orange County Register reports.
A hundred thousand dollars to study a video game that pits ax-wielding ogres against a cast of other fanciful characters? That would buy about 50,000 cans of Red Bull to support those late-night gaming, er, “research” sessions.
As it turns out, the informatics professor, Bonnie Nardi, has already studied how the Chinese play the video game, which is used by 10 million people worldwide. In China she worked to debunk the notion that gamers there are interested only in turning World of Warcraft’s fake currency into real money.
Now she is out to determine why American players, who number just half of those in China, make more modifications to the game, she wrote in an e-mail message to Gary Robbins, the ScienceDude columnist for the Register. “We are examining the many reasons for this disparity, including cultural and institutional factors,” Ms. Nardi said.
Maybe a budget line for 3,000 Red Bulls will do. That leaves $94,000 for any additional expenses.—David DeBolt