Online gaming is not solely the refuge of lonely, anti-social nerd bros like Warcraft guy from that episode of South Park. A new study, surprising no one who actually plays games online, shows that gaming online actually expands players’ social lives, instead of limiting them. Almost like you’re playing with real people online. Because you are.
Researchers from North Carolina State University, York University, and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology hit up over twenty major gaming events in Canada and the UK, from major competitions in convention centers to smaller events in bars. After each event, they had players take a survey focusing on their time playing MMORPGs like EVE and Warcraft.
Their paper Public Displays of Play, shows that – shocker! – gaming actually serves to supplement other forms of communication and social interaction, like watching the games, talking, drinking, and chatting online. Apparently, this was true of all gamers – even the most intense. “[A] player could be utterly ruthless in the game and still socialize normally offline,” assured Dr. Nick Taylor, Assistant Profession of Communication at NC State and lead author. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of trolls.
“Gamers aren’t the antisocial basement-dwellers we see in pop culture stereotypes, they’re highly social people,” added Dr. Taylor. “This won’t be a surprise to the gaming community, but it’s worth telling everyone else. Loners are the outliers in gaming, not the norm.”
So spread the word, gamers – we’re not as weird as, apparently, everyone thinks.
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