Online addiction worse when game brings “a sense of community.”

And while WoW differs from these social-farming games, in Van Cleave’s opinion, they’re not all that different. “In my mind, these games pose a bigger problem, because of that sense of community and belonging that they bring. Those are the games that are the most addictive,” he said.

via Virtual farm games absorb real money, real lives | Web Crawler – CNET News.

I guess this is the real-world issue with cults, too, and sometimes with religion. The world’s most eminent living world historian, William H. McNeill, author of the National Book Award winner The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community, concludes in The Human Web: A Bird’s Eye View of World History (published by Norton, 2003), that our future depends on finding new kinds of communities to replace those of the past, and that the risk today is religious extremism driven in part by a search for community:

Either the gap between cities and villages will somehow be bridged by renegotiating the terms of symbiosis, and/or differently constructed primary communities will arise to counteract the tangled anonymity of urban life. Religious sects and congregations are the principal candidates for this role. But communities of belief must somehow insulate themselves from unbelievers, and that introduces frictions, or active hostilities, into the cosmopolitan web. How then sustain the web and also make room for life-sustaining primary communities?

Ironically, therefore, to preserve what we have, we and our successors must change our ways by learning to live simultaneously in a cosmopolitan web and in various and diverse primary communities. How to reconcile such opposites is the capital question for our time and probably will be for a long time to come.

William H. McNeill and J. R. McNeill 2003, pp. 326-327