"There is a concern for people who become obsessively involved with cyber gaming." While there are some who believe that real-life dangers lurk in the virtual gaming world, others say that just the opposite is true because the games are complex, requiring smarts and quick, sharp thinking.
"The majority of people who play these games don't fall victim to this sort of thing," said Ross.
There have been other cases involving online gaming that captured media attention.
In 2005, the baby of a South Korean couple suffocated when they left the child alone to play "Warcraft" at an Internet cafe.
The common goal of annihilating the foe can bring out a belligerence that sometimes spills over into real-world interactions, especially within those who become addicted to what they're playing, said Robert Mc Crie, a professor in the law and police science department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
"You observe people playing these games — it draws out a kind of aggressiveness and competitiveness in their behavior," he said.
"They're either savvy, or they're very rule-bound." Furthermore, most of those who participate are primarily interested in devising ways to advance, defeat the enemy and win, not prey on unsuspecting fellow gamers.
"The goal is not specifically to meet friends but to play a game," said Michael Goodman, a director at digital entertainment research firm Yankee Group.
— A 2-year-old girl nicknamed "Baby Grace" by detectives was found dead in October in a locked box in Texas — allegedly the victim of a beating murder at the hands of her stepfather and teenaged mother, who met playing the online fantasy game "World of Warcraft." — A 31-year-old Australian woman named Tamara Broome was nabbed in June when she traveled to North Carolina to lure a 16-year-old boy she encountered playing the same popular Internet game.• Click here to visit FOXNews.com's Video Gaming Center.Massively multiplayer online games — or MMOGs, as they're called — can foster more vulnerability than there might be on other virtual meeting spaces such as dating and social networking sites, where participants are inclined to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior from the start.As many as 7 to 9 million of them are in the United States. Nick Yee, an online gaming expert, found that in 2006 about 29 percent of female players ages 12 and up and 8 percent of males in the same age range reported dating someone they met in the virtual world of multiplayer Internet games.And as with other types of popular cyber-meeting spots, the incidents of friendship, dating and even marriages that result are on the rise. That's compared to 18 percent of women and 6 percent of men dating fellow gamers in 2003.