As with all things in life, there are extremes. Before I began writing about MMORPG's and eletronic gaming, I had no idea that this particular subculture was so huge. The Time Magazine article about gaming violence spilling over into real life is disturbing.
The other amazing fact is that there is a professional gamers league and a number of competing world tours. The Cyberathlete Professional League and World Cyber Games (CBG) compete by giving away 2.5 million and 1.0 million USD in prize money. It really is a big business.
The line between Comic Books, Science Fiction, and MMORPG is really rather slim. There is a differentiation between the electronic and paper/pen based world. It is mostly a generational gap. The older generation are still followers of the Stars: Star Wars and Star Trek. The younger generation has recycled comic book heroes such as Daredevil and Elektra. Instead of comic book and fan conventions, they can simply go on-line into a virtual chat room, play the games and socialize. Thus, the connected PC replaces the traditional beer and pretzels gathering.
In my opinion, aside from the communication method and the frequency of interaction, there is no difference in the subcultures. It is a generational gap that separates the two worlds of fantasy role playing and MMOPRG. The type of person attending the electronic gaming and the traditional comic, fantasy, and science fiction conventions are the same.
The LAN party is a cross between on-line gaming and a pizza party. Even a few years ago, a LAN party involved breaking down your home gaming PC rig and transporting it to a friend's basement or living room. With faster laptop CPU's and video processors, it is possible to use a laptop for LAN parties. Possible, but not really recommended, because on-line gaming is about fast twitch response, and milliseconds count.
There is a saying that everything that was old becomes new again. In the entertainment industry, this is certainly true. Old time comic book characters such as Daredevil, Fantastic Four, X-Men are back on the big screen. If history is a guide, these may become the next Star Trek and Star Wars at conventions.