Everyday life is increasingly being experienced through Internet-mediated activities and communication. In particular, online gaming has had an impact on how everyday life is experienced. Massively Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGS), such as World of WarCraft or EverQuest, have millions of users that spend many hours a day in virtual environments, interacting, completing quests and earning virtual rewards. Users may create avatars, join guilds and communicate online with friends and strangers. Beyond the mere extensiveness of use and popularity of these games, there are a number of ways that online games impact on the experience of everyday life. As will be discussed in this essay, the formation of online communities, as well as the economic focus of these games, create a blurring of views on work versus play, and have massive influences on the formation and shifting of identities of gamers.
In forming an understanding of who is online, why they are online and what they do once they are online, the impact of the internet on the everyday experience can be discerned. The study of the everyday is important because it is in the everyday that we discover how people define and understand themselves, conceptualise relationships, understand power manifestations and attribute meaning to life. The everyday can be analysed with reference to how people relate to economy, and therefore this will become a focus of discussion. A consideration of how concepts of ‘community’ has become intertwined and confused with the economy of gaming, and the impact of this on the formation and shifting of identity is then used to discover how online gaming affects the experience of the...
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...hat reflect their offline identities, or invest so much time, emotion and effort into these characters that they become intertwined with offline identities. This is aided in part by the economy-focused nature of the online games, with punishment/reward structures, team dynamics and work versus play attitudes. These economic attributes are often masked under the guise of being a part of a ‘community’ with an allocated role or task, where people feel a connection to other like-minded individuals that become part of their individual and group identities. In this I would argue that how people view themselves, the work environment and their relationships to others can be severely affected by the propensity to play online games. In turn I believe this reflects how heavily influenced the everyday has become by internet-mediated activities of information and communication.
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