The question I will endeavour to address is whether network multiplayer capable computer games offer a valid means of social interaction. To satisfactorily address this question, several terms must be defined as they are used in the context of this document.
The first issue which must be addressed, is what exactly constitutes a networked multiplayer game. A networked multiplayer game, as used in this sense, is a electronic 'game' that can be played simultaneously by more than one player inhabiting the same state space, with each player using a different device, be it a personal computer, a portable device or a games console. This means that players can interact, within the game space, from remote locations. This may include crossing international boundaries.
[...] An understanding of the ways in which people interact within a game-state, and how this can translate to an external relationship may assist developers in designing games that appeal to the social desires of game players. The first, and most prevalent, example of long-term relationships developing from encounters within a game state space occur when two players enter wedlock. This has been noted on several occasions, most commonly occurring with players from “Massively Multiplayer Online” games. An example is the marriage of John and Tevys Taves. [...]
[...] 'NETWORKED MULTIPLAYER GAMES AS A VALID MEANS OF SOCIAL INTERACTION' THE QUESTION I WILL ENDEAVOUR TO ADDRESS IS WHETHER NETWORK MULTIPLAYER CAPABLE COMPUTER GAMES OFFER A VALID MEANS OF SOCIAL INTERACTION. TO SATISFACTORILY ADDRESS THIS QUESTION, SEVERAL TERMS MUST BE DEFINED AS THEY ARE USED IN THE CONTEXT OF THIS DOCUMENT. The first issue which must be addressed, is what exactly constitutes a “networked multiplayer game”. A “networked multiplayer as used in this sense, is a electronic 'game' that can be played simultaneously by more than one player inhabiting the same state space, with each player using a different device, be it a personal computer, a portable device or a games console. [...]
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