This week explores how the gaming community is enhanced by digital platforms whilst considering the sociality and player conflict resulting from online gaming. The term ‘social games’ has come to refer to those games specially made for, and profiting from, social network sites like Facebook. The combination of the worlds of social media and gaming, have generated a wide range of online communities dedicated to the pursuit of social gaming.
As time has gone on, the complexity and scale of these games has developed, and so has the level of social interaction. The worlds that these games enable players enter is becoming increasingly complex and allows for more and more involvement by the player to engage with other players and build relationships. However, we now see the extent to which gamers are involved within these virtual worlds reaching levels of obsession. Many gamers are developing strong obsessions for these games, and some even refusing to stop for sleep, meals or to leave the screen to use the bathroom. This activity is now being recognised as a diagnosable disorder (WHO). Of a particular concern is the influence of these games on younger members of our population. Games like Fortnite are incredibly popular amongst children, and many are swapping the time they previously would have spent being physically active, for time in front of a screen. Not only are their potential physical health impacts of this shift, but levels of obsession can reach levels where children are becoming sleep deprived, that negatively affect their overall demeanour and may see them suffer academically.
It seems to me that social gaming has developed far beyond an amalgamation of social media and gaming platforms. The level of involvement that these games now allows is negatively impacting the lives of many players outside of the game itself. They may be thriving within the social aspects of the game, but often their real life social lives are being damaged by the fact that so much time and effort is being put into these games, and the real world is being left behind.
Swinburne Online 2018, Lecture ‘10.1 This week’s focus’, MDA20009 Digital Communities, Learning materials on Blackboard, Swinburne University of Technology, 10 January 2019, <https://swinburneonline.instructure.com/courses/704/pages/10-dot-1-this-weeks-focus?module_item_id=60121>.
Jordan Ericka Webber ‘Dangerous gaming’: is the WHO right to class excessive video gameplay as a health disorder?’ viewed 22nd January 2019 Gam2018 https://www.theguardian.com/games/2018/feb/05/video-gaming-health-disorder-world-health-organisation-addiction