Online multiplayer video games encourage or require interaction between players. Players may be required to collaborate in order to progress through the game or the game may be contingent on the competition between players. Multiplayer games are said to create lasting social relationships between players. In fact, many people argue that multiplayers games, in the same way as social media apps, are designed to increase and improve interactions between people and can be used in a similar way as book club meetings or coffee groups. A game can support communication between people via text, sound or images and can enable interaction between individuals, groups or even communities.

However, the social impact of multiplayer gaming has been the topic of some heated debate over the past few years. There are those that argue that social gaming (such as multiplayer video games) is simply a marketing ploy that makes business sense. You must collaborate with your friends in order to improve your gaming statistics which keeps up the excitement and keeps you playing.

But, the question can be asked whether you are really playing “together” and therefore, whether these games are really social. The fact is that the games are designed to serve the platforms, not the users. Users might be much better served if the games served the players only.

In addition, multiplayer games no longer mean that players all sit around in the same room enjoying a split screen game experience. Today, online multiplayer games require each player to have his own screen and console and players could be anywhere in the world. In other words, people are sitting alone, but feel like they are being social with the option to chat to someone they don’t know who lives who knows where.

On the other hand, many people argue that multiplayer video games are social. While you could be playing with people across the world, they often result in people sitting together in a public setting, in front of a big screen. In addition, these games are dynamically social in that players create their game lives and build up entire communities based on these lives. Within these communities, players engage in many forms of communication within groups, as well as one-on-one. The games can be huge with massive communities, but can also be intimate between small groups. This is also true for a lot of online casino games, which often offer up unique multiplayer features.

Many games require corroboration between players, as well as collective intelligence to progress through a game. These are fundamental aspects of being social, requiring communication and cooperation between individuals and groups. In many ways, the relationships formed between players within a game community mirror the relationships that can be formed in life. These relationships become easy to maintain through the game and can even expand to real life.

While the debate rages about whether online multiplayer video games are truly social or not, the games themselves are continuing to grow in popularity, adding many new social features and possibilities for all members of the communities that are created through them.


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Last Updated: Mar 30, 2016

About The Author

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James, a lifelong gamer, is a freelance writer who occasionally contributes to Ten Ton Hammer.

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