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Study Shows Some Games Promote Sociability

I hope you're sitting down for this one, because it's really going to blow your mind. It seems that two researchers, Constance Steinkuehler and Dmitri Williams have discovered that not all video games will turn you into a lonely, pathetic, loser. Some of them actually "promote sociability and new worldviews," as recently-published study claims. Further revelations released in the study include the fact that fire is hot and water is wet. Kidding, kidding. They haven't figured out that bit about the water yet.

The study, titled, "Where Everybody Knows Your (Screen) Name: Online Games as 'Third Places,'" argues that online environments, such as those found in MMOs, are "third places," a term used to describe those physical places outside the home or workplace where people get together for social interaction. Showing just how up they are on pop culture, the authors of the paper liken the worlds of Lineage and Asheron's Call to "dropping in at Cheers," the bar featured in a show that's ended its original run thirteen years ago. Basically, after studying Asheron's Call I and II, and Lineage I and II, Steinkuehler and Williams came to the conclusion that playing an MMO is akin to hanging out with real life pals drinking in a pub or playing poker in a living room. The study expands on that, however, saying that playing in such environments is "particularly well suited to the formation of bridging social capital-social relationships that, while not usually providing deep emotional support, typically function to expose the individual to a diversity of worldviews." In other words, when you meet people from different parts of the country or world, something largely inevitable when playing an MMO, you may not become BFF with everyone you meet, but you are exposed to new points of view, a condition the researchers say "has been sorely lacking in American society for decades." Or at least since Cheers was a hit.

“Study Shows Some Games Promote Sociability”