Whenever the topic of playing solo in MMORPGs comes up, invariably the expression “playing alone together” is worked into the conversation. This is the idea that, for some people at some times, it’s simply enough to be gaming around other people to get that social connection.
There may be another term for this: ambient sociability. By gaming in the same virtual space and pursuing similar goals, players can feel connected and have that social need filled to some extent without having to share physical proximity. But one question is whether this helps or hurts gamers’ real world socialization.
In a short essay on the subject, blogger Laura Smith argues the latter: “I see [Jane] McGonigal’s point that gaining confidence in video games can lead to gaining confidence in the real world, thus turning introverts into better extroverts. But if we continue to live in alternate realities and not our own, I don’t see communication between people getting any stronger.”
What do you think? Read the piece and let us know in the comments!