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Online Communities Have Positive Effect 32

eToychest has the results from a three year study, showing the effect of online gaming communities. Overall, the study found, such communities have beneficial results. From the article: "'Our study shows that the online gaming communities are complex and highly developed, acting as training grounds for the transition from school to work' Nic continues: 'When playing, gamers are undergoing a complex process of work related learning - learning how to cope with work scenarios - which is far removed from the traditionally held negative view of gaming. Put simply, these games have a central - and positive - role to play in the development and education of young people.'"
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Online Communities Have Positive Effect

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  • by PFI_Optix ( 936301 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @03:30PM (#14736295) Journal
    Am I the only one not surprised that when you put a group of people in an entertaining environment with common goals, they develop a positive social structure that emphasizes cooperation and just generally being a good sport?

    I mean, seriously. This has been documented plenty of times in real life, is it really all that astounding that people behave the same way in multiplayer games?
  • No one will listen
  • by Puhase ( 911920 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @03:38PM (#14736392)
    I never really considered this idea of "work enviroment" related training and how MMO's can foster develope of these skills. Imagine how many times in school your teachers gave you a ridiculous group project simply because they wanted to teach kids how to function in a results-based enviroment as a group. There are alot of skills you learn in an MMO group: leadership, listening, adapting to change based on observation of other's actions, conflict resolution, etc. that are nice to have when you step into that deep, cold, void of the real world. Obviously they are not saying that everyone learns these skills, but I can definatly see that the challenges set before players do foster such ideas.
    • by CFTM ( 513264 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @04:06PM (#14736626)
      In high school, I was obsessed with a MUD called Arctic [arctic.org] and introduced a bunch of my friends to the game. I enjoyed various aspects of it, probably most of all the ability to step outside my boring everyday life and be something extraordinary, but the most interesting aspect of it was the social engineering that occured. Eventually my whole group of friends got drawn in, and they probably all blame me for not getting laid in high school but that is besides the point; one of my friends latched on to the game not to enter a fantasy world but to use it as a test bed for human manipulation.

      For him, the game was a test bed where he could determine what sorts triggers and levers people have and then see how he could manipulate them to his own end (no surprise that he loved "The Prince" when he read it). I came to appreciate the same things he did later on in my experience, although I never been the manipulating type. It's fascinating though, there are extraordinary leadership opportunities to be learned in these games a person need only the fortitude to deal with morons.
    • Even on the oft-derided CounterStrike you can find a great deal of organization and cooperation. A handful of good players can really energize a team, and before you know it there are a dozen or more people communicating and working together to acheive an objective. And in CS the round starts over in a few minutes.

      In a MMORPG, I would expect a lot more of that behavior. In order to achieve goals and reach certain milestones, players quickly learn that it is beneficial to work together. You will see people g
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @03:39PM (#14736401)
    "Our study shows that the online gaming communities are complex and highly developed, acting as training grounds for the transition from school to work."

    When the players went to work, however, they had to adjust to the fact that other characters' names were pinned to their chests rather than displayed in floating letters above their head. Also, the /dance macro is harder than it looks out here.

  • by Rapter09 ( 866502 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @03:40PM (#14736409)
    ... Talking to other people is socializing! The shocking story tonight on News at 6.
  • by eltoyoboyo ( 750015 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @03:46PM (#14736459) Journal
    "When playing, gamers are undergoing a complex process of 'work related learning' - learning how to cope with work scenarios -..."

    Much like school itself, online community games are social situations. And many of us conduct business through electronic communications such as phones, chats, and e-mail. I could see how being able to resolve conflicts and forge alliances remotely could be an advantage in the real world work environment.

    However, playing first person shooting games 3 hours a day with your eventual career being a postal employee working in a sorting facility may not be constructive "work related learning".
  • by bob65 ( 590395 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @04:16PM (#14736712)
    So the article basically says: "Socializing with others provides good training and practice for socializing with others". I know some researchers have to conduct null studies like this to pay their bills and stuff, but is anyone really interested in this?
  • by Lordpidey ( 942444 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @04:27PM (#14736820) Homepage
    The MMOG called A Tale In the Desert 2 has an especialy unique social structure due to the game not being based on combat, but rather on cooperation to advance society.

    Take for example the test of friendship, to pass it (IIRC), you must bury money in the presence of 10 people (who you trust), thus those people know where the money is, and could dig it up and steal it, and you would never know who did it, unless you caught them in the act (unlikely). If the money is still there after a week, you pass the test. Think about that social structure ;)
  • Don't Forget (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Azarael ( 896715 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @04:32PM (#14736853) Homepage
    Gaming communities give you great experience on how to deal with lots of potential aspects of a workplace. Ego driven flame wars, megalomaniacs, juvenile tantrums and control freak superiors are a few that come to mind.
  • The noobs really are 9 year olds.

    It is OK to drink on the job (who plays MMOs sober after all).

    Woo hoo, and hand me a pabst!
  • by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <spydermann.slash ... m ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday February 16, 2006 @04:57PM (#14737111) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone who has seen Animal Planet find a coincidence? When animals play they're training their survival skills. Children play with toys and learn about their environment. Humans are "social animals", so games which imply cooperation in a society are (inadvertedly) training people for today's jobs.
  • I hear you can get the same results bagging in a grocery store, plus be able to buy things after said work is done.

    It seems like all video game studies are meant for realistic parents who would rather have their children outside playing in the sun, as opposed to having their kids locked in a dimly-lit basement playing video games. "Games are good for your kids!" Not in comparison to what they could be doing...
  • Does this mean that the next time I have to go on a teambuilding course I can suggest we spend all day playing network games? ;-)
    Gotta be less painful than paintballing, anway.
    • Actually, yes.

      Although I would suggest a team FPS (UT2k4, CS, Joint Ops, BF1942) where teamwork is mostly necessary. Make sure to turn friendly fire on. They'll have a lot of fun shooting each other until that gets boring. Not as fun as paintball, but not as painful either. :)

      You might also try MMORPGs that require fixed classes to fill certain rolls. (I would suggest pre-made characters so they don't have to grind that much.) Having to depend on the tank to keep agro, and the healer to heal, and t

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