There are quite a few anthropologists who study communities in and around virtual worlds. Some focus on players - such as the differences between social interactions in Chinese internet cafes and raiding guilds in the US. Then there are others who investigate things such as gender experimentation through avatars in Second Life. Another anthropologist participated in the "Uru diaspora" when players tried to maintain a sense of community and find a new home as a group when their game was shut down. The chair of the Anthropology Department of the University of California at Irvine (Tom Boellstorff) is one of the top researchers in the field. I could post a bibliography of at least 8-10 books directly on the topic - including a guide to methodology and ethics for fieldwork in virtual worlds in addition to various ethnographies - as well as quite few articles from peer-reviewed journals. Then there's all the work on Landscape Phenomenology, Ludology, Narratology in games, Semiotics, quantitative analysis by people like Nick Yee, not to mention the classic literature of Anthropology in general that has some relevance ... In my case I'm interested in the interplay between world design and possible cultures players may create within those worlds. So for a while my fieldwork was in a cutting-edge game called Landmark where players were sort of building the game world from the inside. But the game was shut down last year just a few months after it moved from closed beta to early release. So now I've returned to the RP community in WoW (where I did my initial supervised fieldwork). In the past I also worked as a level designer at a video-game start-up company while also keeping a perspective on designers' culture as my fieldwork. That followed in the footsteps of people who have done fieldwork at Linden Labs & elsewhere. I probably spend more time in-game than other players which is another way in which it's work. In Landmark I was part of a group with a large contingent from Norway & central Europe - and others scattered all across the US - while I live in California. That's a 10 hour time difference. And people who are in school, work or have families to care for play at different times of day. Meaning some days I was in-game from 6 AM or so until after midnight. Now it probably averages about 6-8 hours a day of active participation, 7 days a week. 6 x 7 = 42 hours in-game, then there's the forum chats, looking at things like player-made videos, official tutorials, designer Q&As and that sort of video as well, published written material by the game designers, interviews with them, reading academic literature, processing all that, writing (which involves a lot more than sitting down & typing), ... So maybe 60 hours or more every week of playing the game and other activities directly related to the fieldwork. I actually have it easier than a lot of anthropologists because even though I'm in the field I'm also at home and am able to maintain contact with friends and family in a way you just can't do if you're living in an unsavory part of town in Indonesia for years instead of going to the office Irvine and going home for the evening, or living in a tent at a dig site for months at a time somewhere that you can't even get cell phone reception. Most of them don't get to even start all the literature review and writing/presenting until after they come back from the fieldwork. OTOH I don't have an academic post or a government grant or a position as an in-house anthropologist (Blizzard posted that as a job description for potential hire a couple years ago) so everything is out of my own pocket. The only income is from the occasional guest lecture or in one case receiving a small award for a poster presentation. In all these cases it's a job because as an anthropologist not only do you participate fully in whatever community your fieldwork is about (play the game), but you also keep extensive records (written notes, video, screenshots, & other things such as creating fan art), discuss things with other members of the community (extended chats in-game and through forums), contemplate the big questions about community & culture as they apply to your particular fieldwork (review all your records, read the literature mentioned above, and continue discussions with community members), see what other researchers are saying about their current work (these days "said" includes blogs & even youtube in addition to more traditional written and visual media), discuss what you're doing at a rigorous academic level with colleagues, synthesize & write about all of that, make presentations at conferences (which means producing slides and posters as well as written texts), speak as a guest lecturer in courses (more slides & video editing), ... I'm still at the stage where it's mostly fieldwork and not so much of the formal reflection and publishing/presenting. So at the moment the work involves having as much fun as other players while simultaneously keeping conscious about what it all means.