Modern computer games—one of the most common forms of entertainment today—have given rise to a diverse and rapidly changing collection of virtual organizations. These organizations, some of which are particularly large, are focused around the play, and to a lesser extent the development, of the games themselves. All share a number of the properties of the more traditionally recognized commercial or business virtual organizations and teams—electronic communication, geographic distribution of the members, changing membership, lack of permanence, and shared sense of purpose or identity (Barnatt, 1995; Jagers, Jansen & Steenbakkers, 1998; Wiesenfeld, Raghuram & Garud, 1999) —though differing in their focus on non-commercial activities and in particular entertainment, leisure, and play.
Key Terms in this Chapter
RTS: Real time strategy. A genre of computer game in which the player controls the production and dispensation of a large number of (military) units in real-time.
Mod Team: The team of amateur developers that create and maintain a mod.
Mod: Modification. An amateur (and free) alteration to a commercial game. Modifications range from complete alterations to cosmetic changes.
RPG: Role playing game. A genre of computer game in which players control an individual adventuring in some world. The archetypal setting is fantasy (swords and magic), with characters improving through experience.
Clan: A persistent (beyond a single session of play) team of players of a 1PS that compete together as a team in online competitions.
MMO: Massively multiplayer online. A genre of computer game with a persistent world to which many (100s and above) players are connected simultaneously. MMOs usually possess the properties of an RPG, with the addition of the aforementioned properties (persistent world and large number of simultaneous players).
Guild: A collection of players of an MMO or RPG that share a common affiliation in-game, perhaps adventuring in the game world together or taking part in competitions against other guilds.
1PS: First person shooter. A game genre in which players control an individual from a frist person perspective.