Nearly 40% of men and 53% of women who play online games said their virtual friends were equal to or better than their real-life friends, according to a survey of 30,000 gamers conducted by Nick Yee, a recent Ph.D. graduate from Stanford University. More than a quarter of gamers said the emotional highlight of the past week occurred in a computer world, according to the survey, which was published in 2006 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press's journal Presence.
"There's a fuzziness that's emerging between the virtual world and the real world," says Edward Castronova, associate professor in the Department of Telecommunications at Indiana University, Bloomington.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more