Social architecture and the emergence of power laws in online social games

Kirman, Ben, Collovà, Francesco, Davide, Fabrizio , Ferrari, Eva, Freeman, Jonathan, Lawson, Shaun, Linehan, Conor and Ravaja, Niklas (2011) Social architecture and the emergence of power laws in online social games. In: DiGRA 2011 Conference: Think Design Play, 14-17 September 2011, Hilversum, Netherlands.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
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This paper explores the concept of the “social architecture” of games, and tests the theory that it is possible to analyse game mechanics based on the effect they have on the social behaviour of the players.
Using tools from Social Network Analysis, these studies confirm that social activity in games reliably follows a power distribution: a few players are responsible for a disproportionate amount of social interactions. Based on this, the scaling exponent is highlighted as a simple measure of sociability that is constant for a game design. This allows for the direct comparison of social activity in very different games. In addition, it can act as a powerful analytical tool for highlighting anomalies in game designs that detrimentally affect players’ ability to interact socially.
Although the social architectures of games are complicated systems, SNA allows for quantitative analysis of social behaviours of players in meaningful ways, which are to the benefit of game designers.

Keywords:social games, Social Network Analysis, social architecture, power laws, game design
Subjects:G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G440 Human-computer Interaction
G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G530 Systems Analysis and Design
Divisions:College of Science > School of Computer Science
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ID Code:4734
Deposited On:13 Oct 2011 11:30

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