With the current trend of MMO games there are millions of people all playing online together in order to achieve their own individual goals as well as compete against one another. The idea one playing “alone together” was created which was the idea that in this vast social environment that most players preferred to participate in solo activities as opposed to playing directly with other players. This trend was found to exist in World of Warcraft where the majority of players spend 70% of their time without interacting with others after an eight month survey that McGonigal talked about. She then mentioned a blog of a WoW player that said that they preferred to have others around although they were not directly participating directly with these players. She stated that from time to time she would help someone but for the most part she just enjoyed watching them interacting from spectator’s stand point. Game researchers have dubbed this action as Ambient Sociability which means that the player is within a social environment without interacting directly in it. A real world example could be someone who goes to the local coffee shop to read or study. They would like to be around others but are not looking to directly interact with anyone in particular.
A game researcher Nicole Lazzaro researched this precise phenomenon as well as other social gaming issues. Using McGonigal’s definitions of introverts and extroverts, introverts being ones who are more sensitive to social interactions (external stimulus) and can quickly become burnt out when placed in a social situation and extroverts who are more responsive to social interaction therefore thrive in social environments. She states that these ambient social gaming situations can actually help introverts to slowly become more acclimated to this kind of stimulus. They also can find these kinds of situations more rewarding and can lead to a more social outlook with this new heightened confidence. Since extroverts are considered to be happier due to them being more social and more willing to interact with others this theory of gaming allowing introverts an opportunity to build up a taste for social interaction would make introverts happier.
One potential issue that has not been covered yet is the fact that gaming communities can create a world where a player can succeed where that may not be true in their real life. It can be viewed in popular shows and movies where a gamer is rejected at school or at home but once they start playing they become someone that others admire and adore. They are the king of the hill within the game community but have failed to succeed so far in other social situations leaving them to pull away from real life and delve deeper into gaming life. I am sure that the player who is ranked first in any of the modern games COD or Halo is in some ways admired by their peers where this may not be true in the other parts of their lives. Conversely do the people ranked in the millions and adored by no other gamers have great social lives outside of the games? Also can the top ranked player get a false sense of self-worth and are shocked to not be respected outside of gaming circles, or do they apply this tenacity and skill to all of their ventures?
I try to take the policy of “everything in moderation” and play for the enjoyment of it as well as to get better than my friends. “There can be only one Highlander”