Dr Zaheer Hussain

Research and Teaching Blog


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A Qualitative Analysis of Online Gaming: Social Interaction, Community, and Game Design

My latest article has now been published in the International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning;

The popularity of Massively Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) has risen dramatically over the last decade. Some gamers spend many hours a day in these virtual environments interacting with other gamers, completing quests, and forming social groups. The present study set out to explore the experi­ences and feelings of online gamers. The study comprised 71 interviews with online gamers (52 males and 19 females) from 11 different countries. Many themes emerged from the analyses of the interview transcripts including (i) engaging in social interaction, (ii) being part of a community, (iii) learning real-life skills, (iv) gaining in-game rewards, (v) playing never-ending games (vi) escaping from real life, (vii) playing longer than intended, and (viii) being obligated towards other gamers in-game. These findings specifically showed the many positives of online gaming (including the social interaction and the community aspects of belonging) as well as the in-game features within MMORPGs that in some cases can lead to excessive online gaming. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to previous qualitative and quantitative research in the area.

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