PopCap: Half of social game cheaters also cheat at life

Test cheating (Piotr Marcinski/Shutterstock)

Social and casual game maker PopCap—which was recently acquired by gaming giant Electronic Arts—has published the results of a new survey (PDF) that finds nearly half (48 percent) of people who cheat at online social games like Farmville and Mafia Wars are also cheaters at life, doing things like stealing towels and magazines from hotels and waiting rooms, illegally parking in handicapped spaces, and even cheating on their partners in a committed relationship. In comparison, just 14 percent of folks who say they don’t cheat at social games report cheating in real life.

“How we behave in virtual space and interact with others in social games often mirrors how we act in the real world,” said North Dakota University psychology professor Clay Routledge, in a statement. “With more than 100 million people playing social games regularly, we can expect to see the full range of psychological characteristics represented in the social gaming population—even cheating.”

The survey was conducted by Information Solutions Group for PopCap, and consisted of online surveys of 1,201 respondents in the U.S. and UK who are members of Toluna’s Internet ePanel. To qualify for the survey respondents had to play social games for at least 15 minutes a week. All things being equal, which they rarely are—in theory has a margin of error of about 2.5 percent.

Amongst cheaters, the most common form of reported real-life cheating was cheating on tests at school (53 percent), although some 58 percent of cheaters in the UK reported cheating on their taxes (compared to 33 percent amongst responding U.S. cheaters). Some 51 percent of social game cheaters reported stealing from hotels and illegally parking in handicapped parking spaces, compared to just 14 percent and 12 percent, respectively, amongst non-cheaters. And, perhaps the unkindest cut of all, some 49 percent of social game cheaters reported they cheated on a committed real life relationship, compared to just 15 percent of non-social-game cheaters.

Overall, the survey found that most people don’t bother to cheat at social games: overall, 82 percent of respondents play them straight, leaving 18 percent who cheat. (The UK had proportionately more cheaters than the United States.) Males were also somewhat more likely to cheat at social games than females (54 percent compared to 46 percent) and social game cheaters are, on average, a bit younger than non-cheaters. Interestingly, the survey also found that social game cheaters are considerably more likely to buy virtual items and currency with real money than are non-cheaters, with 86 percent reporting they would be very or somewhat likely to buy a virtual item to gain a short-term advantage in a game. Ironically, this could indicate cheaters are among social games’ best customers—possibly because they are more personally invested at succeeding at the game.

[Image courtesy of Piotr Marcinski/Shutterstock]


‘Kingdom Hearts III’ out in the wild, director asks for support to stop spoilers

Kingdom Hearts III has been leaked, with several copies of the game out in the wild. The game's director, Tetsuya Nomura, responded to the situation, calling for help from gamers to stop spoilers from spreading online.

Give Rachael Ray a run for her money with these 13 recipe apps

You don’t have to be Gordon Ramsay to make a killer meal, you just need an easy to follow recipe app. We’ve compiled our 13 favorite cooking apps for Android smartphones and iPhones, including countless recipes to suit any taste.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Killing Eve'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.

Sharing your best gameplay moments is quick and easy on the Xbox One

The current generation of consoles make it easier than ever to share your gaming highlights with the world. Here's a quick guide on how you can record a gameplay video on Xbox One.

The history of Battle Royale: From mod to worldwide phenomenon

Battle royale games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ and Fortnite have become the biggest trend in video games. The genre is also pushing the envelope in streaming and eSports in a way that might hint at the future of the industry.

The DualShock 4 is one of the best controllers ever, and you can use it with a PC

Sony's new DualShock 4 controller has become a fan favorite, and some people want to use it with a PC. Here's how to connect your DualShock 4 and start using it, either with an official adapter, or unofficial software.

Project Stream testers get to keep a free copy of ‘Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’

Those who participated in Google's technical test of Project Stream won't be able to access the service to play Assassin's Creed Odyssey after January 15, but they'll get to keep the game on PC anyway.

Newest ‘Destiny 2’ raid already completed by two-person team

The latest raid in Destiny 2: Forsaken is Scourge of the Past, and a two-person team has already managed to complete it. The task took 15 hours of trial-and-error effort before the duo managed to take down the final boss.

The 25 best SNES games

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System might be the greatest game console ever made, but what are the best titles for the system? Here are our picks for the best SNES games, including A Link to the Past and Chrono Trigger.

Need a discounted Xbox bundle by Christmas? Walmart has you covered

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have both come and gone, but you can still save some cash on a new Xbox One bundle at Walmart. Both the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X are on sale now.

With our Steam guide, you can give the gift of gaming this holiday season

The holidays may have passed, but it's always a good time to give the gift of gaming (especially when there's a Steam sale)! Here's our quick guide on how to give a Steam game as a gift.

‘Fortnite’ update 7.10 brings a rotating selection of modes big and small

The latest update for Fortnite introduces 14 Days of Fortnite, an event that brings back large and small battle royale modes as well as brand new ones to enjoy during the holiday season.