Nearly half the people who cheat at social video games also cheat in real life on everything from their taxes to their spouses, a new survey from PopCap Games reveals.
The survey of more than 1,200 adult consumers found that nearly half (48pc) of people who admit to cheating in social video games also admit to cheating in real life – compared to just 14pc 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.
“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 in Montreal, Canada.
“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."
Men most likely to cheat
The report also found that although the total number of women playing social games outpaces men 55pc to 45pc, men are more likely to cheat in social games than women (54pc to 46pc). In addition, 72pc of cheaters are under the age of 40.
The report discovered that 118m people regularly play social games in the US and UK – and of those, 11pc of people who play social games in the UK cheat, compared to 7pc of US players who cheat.
“How we behave in virtual space and interact with others in social games often mirrors how we act in the real world," said Prof Clay Routledge of North Dakota State University’s Department of Psychology.
“With more than 100m 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:
- 53pc of people who cheat in social games report cheating on tests at school
- UK cheaters are significantly more likely to cheat on their taxes than US cheaters (58pc versus 33pc)
- Overall, 51pc of people who cheat at social games report stealing towels, cups or other items from hotels (compared to just 14pc of those who said they don’t cheat at social games). In the UK, that rises to 60pc
- 51pc of people who cheat at social games report parking in handicap spaces despite not being eligible (compared to only 12pc of those who don’t cheat in social games). In the UK, 48pc of cheating respondents would take the handicapped space
- Overall, 49pc of people who cheat at social games report cheating on a committed relationship. In the UK, that figure increases to 51pc
- 47pc of people who cheat at social games report stealing packets of sugar, butter or jam from a restaurant
- 43pc of people who cheat at social games report stealing magazines from a waiting room