For Gamers With Autism, Online Worlds a Cycle of Attraction and Fear

For many gamers with autism, massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) are a double-edged sword, according to experts interviewed for this story and anecdotal evidence from the gaming community. The extremely complex game systems can be particularly attractive to the autistic mind’s love of minute details. And for gamers dealing with social interaction problems, MMOs can let them talk to people in more abstract, less stressful environments. But their addictive nature and social elements might also cause players with autism spectrum disorders anxiety, fear, or paranoia.