A Practice-Based Analysis of Social Interaction in a Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming Environment

A Practice-Based Analysis of Social Interaction in a Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming Environment

Giannis Milolidakis (Technological Education Institution of Crete, Greece & Euromed Management, France), Chris Kimble (Euromed Management, France) and Corinne Grenier (Euromed Management, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-567-4.ch003
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Abstract

This chapter analyzes behaviour in on-line games from a practice-oriented perspective and focuses on how individuals create and sustain social structures. It reports on research based in MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) that investigates how what the players do in the gaming environment can give rise to structures that continue to exist outside that environment. The analysis centres on the notion of how practice is framed within the game; the methodology is one based on virtual ethnography. It describes the activities of a group of gamers in both MMOGs and other on-line settings. It will show how such players develop an identity as members of a ’community of games players’ and how their gaming practices are not based around a single game but are spread across several different platforms.
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Background And Theoretical Context

The early 1990s saw a sudden surge of interest in virtual communities, stimulated by books such as Howard Rheingold's “The Virtual Community” (Rheingold, 1993) and by the sudden and rapid expansion of what would now be termed social networks such as the WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link). In tandem, there was a growing interest in on-line games such as MUDS and MOOs. Most of the work in this area was concerned with issues of identity (Bruckman, 1993), although later work also looked at interaction and highlighted the role played by social relationships (Conkar, Noyes, & Kimble, 1999). The concepts presented below provide the theoretical context for our practice based analysis of social interaction inside and outside MMOGs.

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