Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

January 27, 2010 -

A love of the social aspects of videogames tends to drive any perceived dependence on games more so than a game’s activity itself.

This is the angle a Kent State University article takes in examining the aspects of what fuels gamers to keep on playing, in addition to the subject of whether or not the term “addiction” is fair to use in relation to videogames. KSU Sophomore Brian Clark weighed in on the latter subject, stating that the use of such a term was misleading:

Rather than craving the game itself, they crave the interaction they get in the game so rather than going out and having a real life social interaction, they’re having social interactions with other people on a game.

The piece notes that a definition of someone addicted to videogames, as put forth by the American Medical Association (AMA), is a person that “has more control and success over his or her social relationships in the virtual world than reality.”

World of Warcraft was mentioned often in the piece, with Clark admitting that a friend of his had a reliance on the online game, which Clark, again, attributed to the social aspect of WOW. The additional factor of playing a game that never really ends only increases the difficulty of putting a game like WOW aside noted student Connor Shivers.

Achievements can also be a powerful lure for gamers to keep playing. Clark’s previously discussed WOW-loving friend also became reliant on them, “He would play some Xbox games just for the fact of getting achievement points (on Xbox LIVE) and feeling like he accomplished something.”

GP: The definition as defined by the AMA probably needs to be updated as more and more relationships that begin in virtual worlds cross over to the real world. I would venture a guess that most hardcore gamers have befriended a fellow gamer via an online guild or clan and then met up with them IRL.


Comments

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

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Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

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Interesting post and I really like your take on the issue.  I now have a clear idea on what this matter is all about. Thank you so much.
 

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

"The piece notes that a definition of someone addicted to videogames, as put forth by the American Medical Association (AMA), is a person that “has more control and success over his or her social relationships in the virtual world than reality.”"

Some people are just shy, or introverted, or express themselves better in written form than face-to-face speech, or just don't need a person's physical presence to have interactions with them that they find pleasant or meaningful.  This sort of thing is why I regard so much (not all) of psychiatry as pseudoscience- it's often little more than a way to dress up personal or cultural preferences and prejudices as objective science by declaring unpopular personality traits like introversion to be medical problems.

Check out my video game humor and commentary blog, Pointless Side Quest!

Check out my video game humor and commentary blog, Pointless Side Quest! http://pointlesssidequest.blogspot.com/

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

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Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

My friend and i really have no common interests, so she got in to games to give us something to talk about. if that isn't fueling social interaction, i don't know what is.  Gaming isn't the isolated parent's bedroom a lot of people think it is.

I remember mentioning my WoW guild to my family at our christmas party. Several of them made some jokes, and mentioned it in the tone where you know they don't take it seriously, or view it as extreamly nerdy.

I turned to my uncle (fellow WoW player) and said: "i think they're envisioning this as something WAY more weird than it actually is" and he agreed. Because for some reason talking to someone online doesn't count in their minds.

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

"Because for some reason talking to someone online doesn't count in their minds."

Ugh, I agree 100%, here.. When I mentioned to my parents that I was going to head up to Green Bay to meet with some of my friends, they asked me which friends I had up there. When I responded that they were some guys that I played with online, they laughed and told me "Those aren't real friends.."

I mean, what the hell is the difference? Back then, I was pretty heavy into online gaming, 5+ hours a day, and I spent all of that time talking, playing, and socialising with them. The only difference was that rather than sitting next to me with a controller, they were sitting in their living rooms, computer rooms, or bedrooms, hundreds of miles away. If you ask me, they were just as much a friend as some of my buddies from school, whom I also played games with, sometimes online.

The fact is that real friendships and bonds form, and when you aren't playing with them, you find yourself wondering what they are up to, how their kids are, if they got that promotion they were seeking, and just missing the interaction with your friends.

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

I agree 100% to your comment & the one you commented on above yours. My cousin is very anal about who people meet online & she & her mother (my aunt) ask me what I do on the net. I tell them I talk to my friends, play online pool & interact & so tired of the perverts on there. UGH! & they tell me, that I need to be careful b/c it is dangerous. Even when I tell them I play online games or pc games, my aunt is old school & she just goes off on me about how I need to get a life & how there are only BAD people online & you need to interact in person to get to know them or make friends w/them. But I tell them that "helloooooo......you don't know their secrets in person or online, you don't know what they are hiding or if they have a dual personality. There are numbers of reasons." & they just get quiet & don't say anything. *eyes rolling*. & same goes for online dating. People are so nixing it off. & more & more people are going the route of online dating & some even get married b/c of it. Same w/online games/pc games, they talk, eventually meet & if they like each other, then the rest is history. But anyways, I still have friends that I talk to from all over the world, some I have lost out of touch, others died, others went off to the military, all b/c I met them playing games online or playing online pool. But you wonder about everything about them. It is crazy but awesome. :)

 

 

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

There is no difference. hell i would have said "well after i meet them they will be "real" friends (by their definition)"

If you have fun talking to the same group of people for 5+ hours a day on a common basis, those are friends.

Now i wouldn't call my guild members friends, there really isn't that connection, but they are acqaintences whom i enjoy talking with during down time. the fact that i've never personally met them does not lessen the value of that socialization.

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

"Now i wouldn't call my guild members friends"

Clearly, you are in the wrong guild, then. :) (JK! JK!!)

Seriously, though. I will admit, that I don't get along with all of my guildies, either, but with many of them, I do feel that connection of friendship. This is especially true, when your game's division of the guild is relatively small, between 10 and 20 people. You get to know each and every one of those members, and tend to get close to quite a few of them. This was especially true for me, when I played SWG and BF2 with my guild. We weren't a HUGE guild, (Though, in SWG, we did peak around 40 members, and ran one of the larger cities in the Chilastra Server) and after playing SWG for a year or two, we certainly got to know each other, and often relied on each other for gear, combat assistance, and entertainment. It was a good time.

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

Well the main problem is out of all the people in the guild, i'm the only real gamer. 95% of the others are just WoW players

 

...yeah i really need to find a guild that better suits my needs. i don't necesarilly want to leave though because i do know most of them relatively well now.

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

Yeah, I know that feeling. I was lucky enough to find a Cross-game guild that is basically involved in any large mainstream MMO or other online game. The only catch is that we are almost exclusively PC gamers. While we do have some console divisions, it's more for keeping track of each other, rather than actually getting together and gaming on a console.

We are most prevalent in WoW, Eve-Online, and are planning on being a pretty significant force in ST:O.

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

That justy made me think of the coments of that Liz person who came in here saying the people you play with online aren't real or something.

I nthese cases friendships grow from the inside out. A person you'd normally never talk to or avoid offline, you get to know their personality and see if any form of true compatibility exists or can.

Unfortunately, the same circumstances, or the ability ot hide behidn an alias allows one's true douchebaggery to come out as well.

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

However, if someone exposes their true Douchebaggery, people tend not to socialize with them.

Therefore, you could say that the alias helps you identify people who you might attempt to socialize with, only to be disappointed that they turn out to be douchebags in the end. Online gaming encourages socializing with people who you might never socialize with in real life, AND, quite often, saves you the trouble of socializing with complete idiots, since they don't hide their idiocy online.

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

Which does make it kind of advantageous. Your true self comes through and peopel get to know you as you really are.

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

"I would venture a guess that most hardcore gamers have befriended a fellow gamer via an online guild or clan and then met up with them IRL."

Unlikely, it would involve one or both of them leaving the house.

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

Psh.. Whenever I can, I participate in the yearly meet and greets that are done with my Cross-Game guild.  They are always a great time. Beer, Video Games, and good friends for a few days straight.

It's amazing fun, especially when you get the guys from Europe and Australia to fly out and meet us wherever we are gathering. We've had them in Vegas, Chicago, Houston, Miami, and New York. Usually one of the guildies offers up their place for a few days, letting us crash there to save money.

Frankly, I consider some of those guildies among my best friends. Hell, I was even invited to be a groomsman at one of their weddings. The bond amongst guildmates in online games can be incredibly strong, depending on the guild. In my guild, we consider each other extended family, and will often go out of our way to help each other in any way possible.

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

That's the gayest thing I've ever heard. And Graham Norton is interviewing Eddie Izzard on TV as I type this, so that's quite gay indeed.

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

LOL... So let me get this straight. I indicate that not all online gamers are basement dwellers, and that my guild regularly gets together and parties. Your response? "That's Gay."

Spectacular wit you have, there, DS. I mean, it! It's quite possibly the wittiest response I've ever heard from anyone older than 12. Now, I'm going to go out on a limb, here, and assume that you don't actually have ANY friends where you live, since hanging out with friends is the "Gayest thing you've ever heard." No wonder you are such a pathetic, depressed individual. You should go out and make some friends.

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

http://newsimg.ngfiles.com/137000/137446_successful_troll_is_succes.jpg

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

Lulz. You actually think your comment succeeded in pissing me off? Haha.

As it stands, I kind of expected those sorts of responses from you, so I doubt there is much you could say that actually bothers me. Add that to the fact that I don't really put any stock into what you say, it would be impossible for you to successfully troll me.

 

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

Oh yes, you are so not bothered you just had make a post explaining how not bothered you are.

 

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

Consider it Reverse Trolling. Its boring NOT to respond.

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

You're boring either way though. Now go back to ranting about how amazing and bi-sexual you are.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

Don't you mean how "FAH-BYU-LOUS!!" I am? J/k. I'm totally not like that.

However, I am amazing, so I suppose I could start speaking truth to that. :)

 

Re: Social Interaction as a Lynchpin of Gaming

Oh please don't give yourself too much of an ego. lol.

 

 

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry
 
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