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Mechanisms of Disclosure: A Socio-Technological Perspective on Sociality in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

It is a mainstay in game studies that Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games are boasting social relations and community formation. Considering games as ‘sociotechnical’ environments, this article studies how the usage of external communication technologies in an online video game guild shapes the members’ social dynamics. Based on a one-year ethnographic study of a women’s guild in The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO), the analysis shows that the infrastructure of TESO guards anonymous interaction by default and contributes to the game as a ‘safe space’. The displacement of guild communication to media platforms outside the game, however, unleashed mechanisms of disclosure: a leakage of information from the private, domestic domain by means of TeamSpeak and the ‘sharing’ imperative of personal information on Facebook. Such techno-induced forms of personal disclosure act as a double-edged sword: they strengthen the guild’s social bonds, but simultaneously, breed tensions, peer-to-peer surveillance and social control within the guild.
Tijdschrift: Television & New Media
ISSN: 1527-4764
Issue: 3
Volume: 21
Pagina's: 315 - 333
Jaar van publicatie:2020