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Study Shows that MMOGs Promote Sociability 60

Posted by Zonk
from the get-out-there-and-kill-someone dept.
chrisb33 writes "After studying several MMOs, University of Illinois researchers have concluded that the games 'promote sociability and new worldviews.' The study found that the games did not foster social isolation, but actually encouraged meetings between players of differing backgrounds, supplying the 'social horizon-broadening...sorely lacking in American society.' While they caution that, in extreme cases, fixation on internet gaming could diminish offline relationships, the tone of the press release with regard to gaming is remarkably upbeat compared to that of most recent news about gaming."
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Study Shows that MMOGs Promote Sociability

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  • by Klaidas (981300) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:25PM (#15929639)
    Saying that MMOGs Promote Sociability is like saying that playing Counter Strike all day long improves your skills of teamwork, makes you react better, and will let you easily survive if someone attacks you. Gah, we can prove anything, can't we?
    Unless of course, "sociability" is meeting in strange places and buying strange items of a strange game from strange people.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by vertinox (846076)
      Saying that MMOGs Promote Sociability is like saying that playing Counter Strike all day long improves your skills of teamwork, makes you react better, and will let you easily survive if someone attacks you. Gah

      To be fair, Jack Thompson's military friend (that Sgt military guy... can't remember his name) said that playing Doom will turn you into a lethal killing machine just like the marines. *snickers*
      • Which, of course, is why the military has abandoned traditional basic training in favor of massive LAN parties!

      • To be fair, Jack Thompson's military friend (that Sgt military guy... can't remember his name) said that playing Doom will turn you into a lethal killing machine just like the marines. *snickers*

        Actually, Jack took that quote WAY out of context (that is unless we are talking about two different Marine drill instructors). I can't remeber the Sgt.'s name either, but he didn't say it turned you into a killing machine. He said that he could see a noticable difference in target to target movement between those w
    • [...]encouraged meetings between players of differing backgrounds, supplying the 'social horizon-broadening...sorely lacking in American societyI disagree with you. After all, where else can an elf ranger fall in love with a mining dwarf? What better real life skills could you ask for?
    • by intrico (100334)
      Video games DO help you react better, I.E. hand-eye coordination. This can be applied to many careers. Although the teamwork and attack skills would not apply, since quality teamwork skills usually come with participation in complex projects, and surviving attacks involves a greater degree of mobility that extends beyond the hands.
    • by eurleif (613257)
      [...]is like saying that playing Counter Strike all day long improves your skills of teamwork, makes you react better[...]
      It doesn't?
    • Well to be fair fast paced video games do improve hand eye coordination .And teamwork too ( if played competitively) .whether it is better than playing old fashioned sports though is arguable (as sports usually build general athleticism as well ,which video games do not).
      • It would improve fighting skills if the fighting skills in real life involved managing a complex hand controller to move video images around. What gets trained is muscle memory. Soldiers who interact directly with other soldiers need the fitness and training that soldiers get, not game players.

        On the other hand, target acquisition and management would be improved.

        On the gripping hand, an uber gamester would be the ideal weapons management person in an attack aircraft; the nerd behind the pilot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sage Gaspar (688563)
      They said it promoted broadening social horizons. The internet is filled with diverse people from all over the world with all sorts of opinions, but it's even more potent in MMOs, where you can spend hours every week playing with the same friends, who have personalized avatars and such. It's a deeper contact than in your typical forum or chatroom. And while the internet can be great for shut-ins that like to lock out the rest of the world, let's be honest here for a minute, reality can be even more insular.
      • Sure, playing MMOGs can help you meet all kinds of strange people, as long as they are male.

        -stormin
        • Sure, playing MMOGs can help you meet all kinds of strange people, as long as they are male.

          Actually, no, not so much. It depends pretty heavily on what game you play and how you conduct yourself in the game ("ROFL there are no women on teh internets" is a great self-fulfilling statement, for example), but you run into a surprising amount of people of all types. My last guild had maybe a 60/40 split of real life guys and girls, with a fairly even distribution of people from ages 20 to 50 of both genders,
    • The reason the sale of Counter-Strike wasn't forbidden in Germany was, that a Sociologist and an Officer of the BKA (=FBI of Germany) convinced the rating-board that CS boosts teamwork and social-skills. So yes, you can assert that that playing Counter Strike all day long improves your skills of teamwork.
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        I thought that was because the BPjM got convinced that CS does not make killing humans your goal and that you can win a round without shooting anyone.
        • by Alphager (957739)
          That was part of the argument, yes. The decision said that CS IS a violent game which is harmful in some ways, but it could theoretically be played without violence and the use of communication outweights the harm.
  • ...it looks like the study points out that you can gain good social skills and "social bridging" with online games. I play MMOGs and I can agree with this idea. However, I don't see this article comparing MMOG social interaction to 'normal' social interaction in developing teens. Are the social skills I learn playing WoW better or worse than the skills I could learn playing football, getting a group of guys together to play D&D, or hell, shopping at the local mall?
    • If they want to point out that it reduces isolation of certain groups that would otherwise feel 'cut off' from the rest of the world, I could give them that.

      I don't think MMO's are designed to replace 'normal' interaction by any means, so no, you're not getting the 'same' skills. You might, however, be getting skills more useful to you (Anecdotal evidence suggests that more adept players notice they type faster than normal, which is a useful skill in general).
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dc29A (636871)
        There is plenty of normal interaction of MMOG guilds. One of my best friends, I met online in EQ. I've been playing various MMOGs with a group of about 40 or so people for many years now, we get toghether regulary every year for a weekend in some random city. Ironically, lot of "normal" human interaction happens, couples broke up because of infidelity! There is plenty of drama and good times you can have with people playing the same MMOG.

        MMOGs help break down age barriers also, you might no socialize with a
      • Haven't spent alot of time interacting in mmogs, have you? In the 14 years or so of playing mmogs (first muds, mushes, and moos, then Evercrack, and others), I have met and interacted with people from across the globe. People I never would have met otherwise, and through them, I learned something about their country and culture. I haven't had that experience playing Half-Life on-line, but then I just wanna frag something.

        Some MMOGers actually interact rather than just greif. :)
        • If you have to ask, I'm primarily a Gaian (though I play some in YPP, and became fast friends with this interesting married couple... but not signed on in a while)

          Not all MMO's are in 3d worlds with lots of hierarchical character classes.
  • Couldn't this be said for any social networking tool, from Blogger to MySpace?

    I mean, yes, MMO's encourage TEAMWORK among all those diverse peoples more often than not, but even so...
  • by spyrochaete (707033) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:30PM (#15929694) Homepage Journal
    I must say my negotiating skills have improved vastly since I started playing Guild Wars. I just don't feel as shy to express my opinion of a fair deal. When I started playing the game I was too intraverted to assert myself to even sell any of my hard earned lewt, but as I learned the game and the economy I drew strength knowing I had some background on how things worked. It's really improved my life and I look forward to putting my new skills to the test when my salary is renegotiated at work in a couple of weeks!
    • by tourvil (103765)

      It's really improved my life and I look forward to putting my new skills to the test when my salary is renegotiated at work in a couple of weeks!

      Let me give you one piece of advice: don't call your boss a nub if he doesn't give you a good raise!

    • Don't forget map reading skills.

      When you start running (I do it for fun and for my guild mates), you really start to look at maps and plan mentally where you're going to go. This applies to "real world" maps as well. Instead of "oh did I miss my turn?" it becomes "left left, follow the coast, third turn, fourth turn" and even sign posts don't seem to be very important because your memory has got so good at remembering paths.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:34PM (#15929737)
    and there are no posts. Apparently this article doesn't promote sociability..

    "..But honey it isn't a raid.. its a multicultural exchange of ideas!"
  • Well, this is certainly a pleasant surprise. I know that personally this year I've had more social interaction with people I've met in games or on internet forums than ever before. I can't help but wonder though, when governments that want to more tightly control the contacts their citizens have are going to crack down on MMOGs in a big way. Granted, games are games, but in my experience, people chat about a lot more than the game online between raids and other events.
  • Sun promotes heat.

    A-bomb promotes casualties.

    Is there something that studies don't get about Mass Multiplayer Online RPGs?
  • by kinglink (195330) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:56PM (#15929955)
    Seriously who has been on any MMORPG and can honestly said they were "socialable?" I'm not talking about talking to people, I'm talking about talking to people about stuff that doesn't directly relate to the game.

    Every time I was in a guild in any game all I heard was guild issue, guild fights and random crap. There was no real socialization there was discussions on crap like "when are we taking on Moltan core" "are we going to power level me today?" "who can help me with this?" It's true there's some social events on the game, but for the most part, I don't count dancing in a line, talking about the dancing in a line, and then taking pictures of dancing in a line as "social events".

    That's not to say it's bad. It does foster problem solving, and speaking up about problems, asking for help. All of these are good things. But at the same time it doesn't actually feel social. The only socializing I really got done on World of warcraft was Pms to my ACTUAL friends, who if I wasn't on an MMORPG I'd be talking to on IM.

    P.S. Experiences include Everquest, SWG, Guild Wars, as well as others.
    • by juuri (7678)
      It's true there's some social events on the game, but for the most part, I don't count dancing in a line, talking about the dancing in a line, and then taking pictures of dancing in a line as "social events".

      It's true there's some social events in my dorm, but for the most part, I don't count dancing in a line, talking about the dancing in a line, and then taking pictures of dancing in a line as "social events".

      The basic disconnect here is the event that happen outside of a game or any sort of constructed r
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kinglink (195330)
        My point is there's a difference between giving us something to talk about or actually creating a social environment.

        Let's take this in a different situation. If there was no game play would the same socializing be found? The answer is no because most of the socializing on the game is about the game play. In this case the MMOG is the subject of socialization, and it gives a good medium for it.

        Let's go one step further. Imagine that there's a really amazing advance in science and we suddenly have VR. No
        • by juuri (7678)
          I think you are giving too much credence to real socialization.

          The bulk of office socialization is about the "work" or a sports event or last night's tv show. In fact it is in most office guideline books you are asked to steer away from subjects that could be deemed controversial. What happens at the bulk of parties? Gossip spreading? Talking about the guy so high he is licking the floor in the kitchen? Or the girl so drunk she is rapidly shedding her clothing? Most all social interactions in life are in fa
          • by kinglink (195330)
            I didn't say Office socialization is the model of effeciency. When I talk about socialization I normally am talking about two or more people eating a meal at a local area restaurant, price point between 10 and 20 dollars, the group having diverse intrests, and there being no game on anywhere in the place.

            That is the base of my idea of "effective socialization" where any topic comes up and is discussed. Even at my office we talk about a variety of topics even though we're a game company. We have had long
    • Every time I was in a guild in any game all I heard was guild issue, guild fights and random crap. There was no real socialization there was discussions on crap like "when are we taking on Moltan core" "are we going to power level me today?" "who can help me with this?" It's true there's some social events on the game, but for the most part, I don't count dancing in a line, talking about the dancing in a line, and then taking pictures of dancing in a line as "social events".

      If you're in a guild full of P
    • I would say discussion of the game was the least frequent topic amongst people I play with. The guilds and player associations I form with people tend to be oriented around being social while playing the game, rather than teaming up to play the game better. Oh, sure, we'd occasionally discuss something game related - it was, obviously, a mutually interesting hobby - but for the most part we would have discussions about real-world issues.

      It's kind of funny in that, in the real world, many of the people I kne
  • All I hear around my college is stuff about World of Warcraft as the students talk to each other.

    Too bad people still can't understand half the words they are saying....
  • by idontgno (624372) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:06PM (#15930047) Journal

    The only new worldview MMORPG'ing has provided me is looking up at the 3 level 60 Alliance gankers who just obliterated me for having the audacity to be Horde in a disputed zone.

    "Sociability", indeed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:13PM (#15930141)
    MMORPG
    Many Men Online RolePlaying Girls
  • What games were they playing? I mean, Second Life, or Warcraft? Having a lowly Mac, I have reguarly partaken in the latter, where I have been called a "fag", "n**ga" and other wonderful terms.

    Is it because they pick their slurs at random that they cross boundaries, rather than singling out a particular minority?
    • Maybe they thought you were a member of the GNAA?
    • This may be horribly presumptuous of me, what with being a honkey, but it seems like n**ga has just lost it's edge.

      It's what me and my brothers call each other at home. Even though we're all blindingly white.

      I think it's all in the intent. I'm guessing from the context that those who said it to you meant to offend, of course. But it actually illustrates something that the article misses; there's a benefit of not only crossing cultural, geographic and ethnic lines, but lines of age and maturity as well.
  • World of Warcraft Soulbound Trinket Equip: Increases sociability by 4%.
  • You stole my fucking cloudsong!!!! *whineexclamationoneoneoneonetilde*
  • The story seems to say this like it's a good thing.
  • I introduced one of my fairly anti-social friends to WOW. He actually stopped hanging out after about a month, because he had scheduled raids. He missed quite a bit of sleep, and even played the game at work. So, in real life, it was a social drain for him.
    In game, he made tons of new friends that he loves hanging out with. There, it was a positive social experience.
    No real point, just throwing out an example. For myself, I played in my spare time but never developed the addiction. Now that he's starting
  • http://mordots.com/ [mordots.com] Yes, it's old, but still brings a smile to my face. Need sound, and not quite safe for work. :D
  • Like the fact that innevitably SOMEONE will try take advantage of a situation. I hear countless stories from WoW players about how they were scammed by other players, I won't go into details, but often these scams involve a deal that appears to be to good to be true, although it is a random deal and often with someone they don't know who is often a level 1.

    Now, in real life if someone randomly came up and offered you an unmarked, closed box and said there was a gold bar inside and all they wanted was $100,
  • WWW.warninja.com

  • Let's see... I've played at least for some time FFXI, the Realm (beta), Earth and Beyond, EVE, Planetside, RO (early beta), City of Heroes, and probably at least one or two other, forgettable MMOs. The only one of these in which I really experienced any social interaction at all was Planetside, where you pretty much had to be in a squad to get anything done. That's not counting the one or two little MUDs I used to tool around in way back when.

    The simple reason for this is probably that I don't play MMOs
  • My overall experience has been that people can have different personas online vs offline. So while someone may be quite social in the game I haven't really seen that translate to outside of the game, barring perhaps meeting other people from the game and discussing it. And the flipside of the coin is that these games (thinking WoW since that is the one I have had experience with) demand a lot of time from the player which could be otherwise used for socialising with people in the real world, some people ca
  • My friends and I are all shining examples of such an effect. After playing MMOs together for years, we finally decided that we'd much rather just hang out in person.. and in public, no less!

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