Publication: “I'm Just Here to Play Games:” Social Dynamics and Sociability in an Online Game Site

There are many web sites that allow people to play board or card games against other human players. These sites offer tools and opportunities for social interaction, but little is known about how people really interact on these sites. To learn more about social dynamics on game sites, we analysed three months of log files from a large site to explore three themes: permanence (whether people formed a long-term association with the site); social interaction (in terms of shared activity and verbal communication); and formation of ties (whether people made contacts with others). Our analyses showed that while the site seems very social when we consider gameplay, the population was highly transient, and people talked very little. To explain these behaviours, we suggest that games and game-based activity should be considered as a legitimate form of human interaction. Our analysis provides new information and new ways of thinking about how game environments can be designed to support many kinds of sociability.

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Participants

Gregor McEwan
University of Saskatchewan
Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan
Regan Mandryk
University of Saskatchewan
Lennart Nacke
University of Ontario Institute of Technology, University of Saskatchewan

Citation

McEwan, G., Gutwin, C., Mandryk, R.L., Nacke, L.E. 2012. “I'm Just Here to Play Games:” Social Dynamics and Sociability in an Online Game Site. In The 2012 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Seattle, Washington, USA. 549-558. DOI=10.1145/2145204.2145289.

BibTeX

@inproceedings {239-CSCW2012-695_camera,
author= {Gregor McEwan and Carl Gutwin and Regan Mandryk and Lennart Nacke},
title= {“I'm Just Here to Play Games:” Social Dynamics and Sociability in an Online Game Site},
booktitle= {The 2012 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work},
year= {2012},
address= {Seattle, Washington, USA},
pages= {549-558}
}