Inclusion exclusion and gamergate
Play is social: it involves complex interplays of communication, interpretations of intention, role playing and cooperation.
The social play of humans is also culturally mediated and formalised
games and gaming play are very different roles in the lives of different people. For some it is a casual and diversion for some it is a more intense involvement.
‘With the increases in ubiquity of personal computers, video gaming consoles, smartphones and other connected digital devices, there are more, and more multiform opportunities for communication and thus also for social contact than in the past.’ (Mäyrä, forthcoming 2016 p6)
‘[B]elonging to a community is dependent on […] choices and actions, and also defined by the associated sense of belonging to a community.
In the public debate surrounding communities there are often conflicting views between what are considered as genuine or true communities and non-genuine or artificial or insubstantial ones.’ (Mäyrä, forthcoming 2016 p2)
To gamers, we see that an online community is a genuine thing, where as people who are not used to online gaming communities may think that they are artificial, and don’t necessarily exist.
‘Communities’ are formed as more permanent social relations, but have as their starting point a gaming experience (something else grows from the shared gaming experience between people).
Brint 2001: 10-11, ‘A typology of communities’
- communities of place = e.g. a village
- communes and collectives = e.g. evening classes, book clubs etc
- localised friendship networks = e.g. the friendships at school, same course
- dispersed friendship networks = e.g. same network as school but when everyone has moved away from each other, still in touch online
- activity based elective communities = e.g. sports clubs
- belief based elective communities = e.g. religion, churches
- imagined communities = e.g. how newspapers group people together
- virtual communities = e.g. online gaming communities, mmorpgs
MUDS (Multi User Dungeons) – early text based game worlds where players use the same environments
The co creator Richard Bartle, of the first MUD, analysed online MUD forum discussions and found two main directions of interest for playing: 1) the game environment 2) the other players
World of Warcraft research
Research by Ducheneaut et al 2006 of World of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment, 2004; WoW) used qualitative in game observations plus automatically logged quantitative data gathered from 129,372 WoW player characters.
Conclusions: the game play is not as socially oriented as we might think.
Player characters spent typically only 30 to 35% of their play time in groups, and ‘solo play’ was more typical.
Guild structures and larger raid groups are important in high level plays, but most WOW subscribers tend to play surrounded by others, rather than playing with them.
But even so, the presence of others is important. it allows players to show off their achievements.
“[I]nstead of playing with other people , [game subscribers] rely on them as an audience for their in-game performances, a an entertaining spectacle, and as a diffuse and easily accessible source of information and chitchat.”
Pierre Bourdieu (1996)
cultural capital means the way symbolic elements such as skills, tastes, posture, clothing, mannerisms, material belongings, credentials, etc. that one acquires though being part of a particular social class.
Sharing similar forms of cultural capital with others – the same taste in movies, music or knowledge of sport, or a degree from a certain university – creates a sense of collective identity and group position (‘people like us’).
“certain forms of cultural capital are valued over others and can help or hinder one’s social mobility just as much as income or wealth”, e.g. economic capital
eg to be able to play sports for the rich such as polo requires a lot of money, so only the wealthy would be able to play such a sport.
Gaming Capital Mia Consalvo (2007)
draws on pierre bourdieu’s idea that capital (a resource that can help you in various ways0 can be financial but also cultural and social.
Highlights the meanings and significance of games, gaming and knowledge about games and associated practices hold for groups and individuals
Face to face or online, discussing game experiences, sharing tips, tactics or even cheat codes that allow extra lives in a game, shapes and increases gaming capital.
But we should always remember that the talk, attention and activities of gaming communities are not separate from the activities of various industry groups (developers, distributors, marketing people, reviewers etc.) whose objectives are to direct such attention.
‘the term occupational community denotes a group of workers who, through their identification with their occupation, share a common set of norms and values (salaman, 1971)’