Finding your social space: Empirical study of social exploration in multiplayer online games

Arpita Chandra, Zoheb Borbora, Ponnurangam Kumaraguru, Jaideep Srivastava

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Social dynamics are based on human needs for trust, support, resource sharing, irrespective of whether they operate in real life or in a virtual setting. Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGS) serve as enablers of leisurely social activity and are important tools for social interactions. Past research has shown that socially dense gaming environments like MMORPGs can be used to study important social phenomena, which may operate in real life, too. We describe the process of social exploration to entail the following components 1) finding the balance between personal and social time 2) making choice between a large number of weak ties or few strong social ties. 3) finding a social group. In general, these are the major determinants of an individual’s social life. This paper looks into the phenomenon of social exploration in an activity based online social environment. We study this process through the lens of the following research questions, 1) What are the different social behavior types? 2) Is there a change in a player’s social behavior over time? 3) Are certain social behaviors more stable than the others? 4) Can longitudinal research of player behavior help shed light on the social dynamics and processes in the network? We use an unsupervised machine learning approach to come up with 4 different social behavior types - Lone Wolf, Pack Wolf of Small Pack, Pack Wolf of a Large Pack and Social Butterfly. The types represent the degree of socialization of players in the game. Our research reveals that social behaviors change with time. While lone wolf and pack wolf of small pack are more stable social behaviors, pack wolf of large pack and social butterflies are more transient. We also observe that players progressively move from large groups with weak social ties to settle in small groups with stronger ties.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2019 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2019
EditorsFrancesca Spezzano, Wei Chen, Xiaokui Xiao
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages1072-1080
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781450368681
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2019
Event11th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2019 - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 27 Aug 201930 Aug 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 2019 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2019

Conference

Conference11th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2019
CountryCanada
CityVancouver
Period27/8/1930/8/19

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Clustering
  • MMORPG
  • Social behavior typology
  • Social exploration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Chandra, A., Borbora, Z., Kumaraguru, P., & Srivastava, J. (2019). Finding your social space: Empirical study of social exploration in multiplayer online games. In F. Spezzano, W. Chen, & X. Xiao (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2019 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2019 (pp. 1072-1080). (Proceedings of the 2019 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2019). Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1145/3341161.3345333