According to the survey of more than 1,200 adult consumers, nearly half (48%) of people who admit to cheating in social video games also admit to cheating in real life – compared to just 14% 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.
The report discovered that 118 million people regularly play social games in the U.S. and U.K. – and of those, 11% of people who play social games in the U.K. cheat, compared to 7% of U.S. players who cheat. The report also found that although the total number of women playing social games outpaces men 55% to 45%, men are more likely to cheat in social games than women (54% to 46%). In addition, 72% of cheaters are under the age of 40.
“How we behave in virtual space and interact with others in social games often mirrors how we act in the real world,” said Professor Clay Routledge of North Dakota State University’s Department of Psychology. “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.”
Key findings of the report include:
- 53% of people who cheat in social games report cheating on tests at school
- U.K. cheaters are significantly more likely to cheat on their taxes than U.S. cheaters (58% versus 33%)
- 51% of people who cheat at social games report stealing towels, cups or other items from hotels (compared to just 14% of those who said they don’t cheat at social games)
- 51% of people who cheat at social games report parking in handicap spaces despite not being eligible (compared to only 12% of those who don’t cheat in social games)
- 49% of people who cheat at social games report cheating on a committed relationship
- 47% of people who cheat at social games report stealing packets of sugar, butter or jam from a restaurant
- 43% of people who cheat at social games report stealing magazines from a waiting room
- U.S. gamers who live in the mid-West are the most likely to cheat versus other regions (29%)
“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. “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.”