This research expands on the work of Goffman (1959) in seeking to examine how players of Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOs) use virtual environments as a mechanism to explore their own offline identity, through the use of multiple characters and gender swapping. Using Thematic Analysis of four interviews, five themes have been identified which will inform a larger Grounded Theory study. It is argued that these themes provide the foundation for the construction of solid theoretical constructs which will inform future discussion on all interaction in virtual environments -- not only in computer games, but all other social technologies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Women are playing video games in ever increasing numbers. However, the empirical literature has consistently shown that males play video games more frequently than females, that males play for longer periods, and that both genders are equally likely to view game playing as a mas-culine pursuit. As a consequence, a study was carried out to examine salient themes in the experiences and motivations of females who fre-quently play 'casual' video games. The participants comprised 16 adult female casual-gamers who completed two self-report online interviews (at the beginning and at the end of the study) and participated in an online blog/diary and discussion forum over a four-week period. The data were analysed for salient themes using Thematic Analysis. Results showed areas that were important to female casual-gamers included knowledge peripheral to games, domestic commitments and personal priorities influenced by gaming, and the social, financial, and emotio-nal investment of games. By exploring the prominent themes underlying women's motivations to play casual games, the results provided poten-tial new research directions for future research on women gamers from positively gendered perspectives.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A number of conceptual metaphors have been previously suggested for identity management, including, for example, theatre stage, onion layers, and identity segments. Based on an analysis of 30 in-depth interviews with Second Life residents, we examine the extent to which these metaphors can be used to explain experiences of social relationships in and across virtual and material worlds. The data suggest that these metaphors are relevant to social interactions in and across virtual and material environments: individuals perform on a stage to and with others, they gradually reveal layers of themselves, and they distinguish between segments of their identity in different social situations. At the same time, these metaphors do not explain all experiences, pointing to future research on virtual environments, social relationships, and identity management.
CSCW '12 Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Seattle, WA, USA, February 11-15, 2012; 01/2012
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: International evidence indicates that the number of females involved in video-gaming is increasing. Within the context of this increase, there is a need to explore the experiences of this group of gamers in detail. This study explored female experiences of playing video-games. Data were collected from an online discussion forum dedicated to video-gaming; the sample comprised of posts drawn from 409 discussion threads. Thematic analysis of the discussions suggests that gaming is a key element of the female gamers’ identity, with females discussing the integration of gaming into their daily lives on a number of different levels. Similar to previous research, social elements of gaming are highlighted with simultaneous difficulties with online interaction emphasised. These themes are discussed in relation to relevant research in the area, along with recommenda- tions for future research and consideration of possible explanations for the themes observed.
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