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18 August 2006

Online games promote sociability

They're often criticised for isolating people from one another or being a waste of time, but some popular online video games actually "promote sociability and new worldviews".

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They're often criticised for isolating people from one another or being a waste of time, but some popular online video games actually "promote sociability and new worldviews," according to an American study.

Researchers at the University of Illinois-Champaign and the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied the form and function of massively multiplayer online games (MMOs). They concluded that the games don't isolate people, but act as virtual coffee shops or pubs where "social bridging" occurs, United Press International reported.

Examples of positive kinds of MMOs include "Asheron's Call" and "Lineage."

"By providing places for social interaction and relationships beyond the workplace and homes, MMOs have the capacity to function much like the hangouts of old," the study authors wrote. In fact, the lack of real world hangouts is what's behind the popularity of MMOs, they added.

Their findings are published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. - (HealthDay News)
 
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