Publication: Designing for Friendship: Modeling Properties of Play, In-Game Social Capiral, and Psychological Well-being

Players are increasingly viewing games as a social medium to form and enact friendships; however, we currently have little empirically-informed understanding of how to design games that satisfy the social needs of players. We investigate how in-game friendships develop, and how they affect well- being. We deployed an online survey (N= 234) measuring the properties of games and social capital that participants experience within their gaming community, alongside indicators of the social aspects of their psychological wellbeing (loneliness, need satisfaction of relatedness). First, our findings highlight two strong predictors of in-game social capital: interdependence and toxicity, whereas cooperation appears to be less crucial than common wisdom suggests. Second, we demonstrate how in-game social capital is associated with reduced feelings of loneliness and increased satisfaction of relatedness. Our findings suggest that social capital in games is strongly and positively related to players' psychological well-being. The present study informs both the design of social games as well as our theoretical understanding of in-game relationships.

Participants

Ansgar Depping Colby Johanson
University of Saskatchewan
Regan Mandryk
University of Saskatchewan

Citation

Depping, A.E., Johanson, C., Mandryk, R.L. 2018. Designing for Friendship: Modeling Properties of Play, In-Game Social Capiral, and Psychological Well-being. In Proceedings of the 2018 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. DOI=10.1145/3242671.3242702.

BibTeX

@inproceedings {
author= {Ansgar Depping and Colby Johanson and Regan Mandryk},
title= {Designing for Friendship: Modeling Properties of Play, In-Game Social Capiral, and Psychological Well-being},
booktitle= {Proceedings of the 2018 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play},
year= {2018},
address= {Melbourne, VIC, Australia}
}