The concept of relationships, formed within games evolving into fully formed friendships that actively give and receive social support, is a dynamic and new social phenomenon. Since the early emergence of online gaming, social interaction in the digital space has continued to grow as an increasingly common form of interpersonal communication and relationships. Video game genres such as MMO’s (Massively Multiplayer Online), which can be further broken down into subgroups dependent on gameplay style, actively encourage online interaction and communication between players. Features within video games such as cooperative team based objectives in games such as World of Warcraft or Left 4 Dead (a popular team based versus game, where players are encouraged to work together to progress further) and casual community oriented objective based games such as Minecraft (a popular block building open world game that encourages players to work together in building imaginative structures, similar to that of the physical toys Lego blocks). These features actively encourage interaction and cooperation, which in turn possibly begin the formation of friendship bonds between players.
This aspect has only recently begun to emerge in the field of social psychology. The extent of research conducted on the effects of social interaction as a support network and concepts of friendship are relatively limited. There have been numerous studies that have researched other, more extreme, aspects of online interaction and the effects related to personal needs such as; online romantic relationships, cyber bullying in the form of trolling and or griefing, and identity (more specifically, sexual ident...
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... the relationship between social online game use and gaming-related friendships. Computers in Human Behavior, 35, 107-115.
Kowert, R., Domahidi, E., Festl, R., & Quandt, T. (2014a). Social gaming, lonely life: the impact of digital game play on adolescents’ social circles. Computers in Human Behavior, 36, 385-390.
Kowart, R., & Oldmeadow, J. (2013). (A)Social reputation: exploring the relationship between online video game involvement and social competence. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 1872-1878.
Kowart, R., & Oldmeadow, J. (2014b). Playing for social comfort: online video game play as a social accommodator for the insecurely attached. Computers in Human Behavior (2014).
Trepte, S., Reinecke, L., & Juechems, K. (2012). The social side of gaming: how playing online computer games creates online and offline social support. Computers in Human Behavior, 28, 832-839.
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