Online games as social meeting places

October 12, 2010

boundary crossing in online games, researchers Jonas Linderoth and Camilla Olsson at the University of Gothenburg analyse the culture of online games and the boundary-crossing community associated with the activity. The report looks at meetings with other cultures, development of language skills and players who travel to meet up with other players. But it also deals with culture clashes, exclusion and sexualisation.

The report, which was released by the Swedish Media Council on 5 October, shows that digital online games function as social meeting places, where players from all over the world come into contact and play together. The social aspect of the game is often the key element for the players, something that has been overlooked by many people.

Performance culture

Online games have a clear performance culture where players are welcome if they are proficient at the game, and this is why issues such as age differences, nationality and social class are not as important as they are in other social arenas. It is quite common for older and younger players to play together, but only if the younger players can communicate on the older players' level.

Other social rules

"However, the performance culture does not apply to one area: if the player is a woman, certain stereotypical gender perceptions emerge, which mean that other social rules come into play," says Senior Lecturer at the Department of Education, Communication and Learning, Jonas Linderoth.

Female players are treated differently and subjected to sexualisation in the world of online games. Many have developed counter strategies, for example women pretend to be men, vice versa or players keep their gender secret.

In 2007, Jonas Linderoth was one of the authors behind the report Living in World of Warcraft, which attracted considerable coverage at the time. The report highlighted a specific aspect of online game culture, namely the problems associated with time consumption. This current report focuses on the opportunities as well.

Broader scope

"This report is more about everyday phenomena. It has a broader scope in that it's about several different types of online game and doesn't just focus on one game or genre," says Jonas Linderoth.
"The World as a Playground is based on a qualitative study and you can't draw general conclusions, but there is reason to take a close look at the way in which masculine behaviour is established as the norm, even in the world of ," says Ann Katrin Agebäck, Director at the Swedish Media Council.

Explore further: Leveling the gaming field

Related Stories

Leveling the gaming field

May 13, 2008

A new computer game developed by MIT and Singaporean students makes it possible for visually impaired people to play the game on a level field with their sighted friends.

Virtual studies answer real questions

February 14, 2009

"Are online games just for male teenagers?" About 80 percent of "Ever Quest II" players are male, but the hardcore players are women. And, almost all players are adults.

OnLive game streaming service to start in June

March 10, 2010

(AP) -- In an industry first, a new gaming service will start allowing people to "stream" popular games over the Internet in June, similar to checking Web-based e-mail or listening to music online.

Recommended for you

From a very old skeleton, new insights on ancient migrations

October 9, 2015

Three years ago, a group of researchers found a cave in Ethiopia with a secret: it held the 4,500-year-old remains of a man, with his head resting on a rock pillow, his hands folded under his face, and stone flake tools surrounding ...

Who you gonna trust? How power affects our faith in others

October 6, 2015

One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which ...

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...

Mexican site yields new details of sacrifice of Spaniards

October 9, 2015

It was one of the worst defeats in one of history's most dramatic conquests: Only a year after Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, hundreds of people in a Spanish-led convey were captured, sacrificed and apparently eaten.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (1) Oct 12, 2010
My late wife was a power gamer in a Play-by-Mail game (the 1980's version of today's on-line games), and she might initially faced some issues, but after she kicked a bunch of other people around the block in combat, she got accepted and became one of the more popular players (of the 2000 or so) in the game.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.