If you don’t have access to Convergence please send me a note! Otherwise it is available online here.
Kelly Bergstrom, Stephanie Fisher, and Jennifer Jenson. Disavowing ‘That Guy’: Identity construction and massively multiplayer online game players. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. first published on December 8, 2014 doi:10.1177/1354856514560314
Disavowing ‘That Guy’: Identity construction and massively multiplayer online game players
Using Goffman’s ‘keys and frames’ as an analytical framework, this article explores depictions of massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) players in newspaper coverage, popular media (South Park and The Big Bang Theory), and Web-based productions (The Guild and Pure Pwnage) and player reactions to these largely stereotypical portrayals. Following this discussion, we present data from a longitudinal study of MMOG players, focusing on our study’s unintentional provoking of participants to react to (and ultimately reject) these stereotypes in their survey responses. We argue this is of particular interest to researchers studying MMOG players or members of other heavily satirized communities, as these stereotypes influence the ways study participants practice identity management and frame their own gaming practices, even in the context of an academic study that was explicitly not about addiction or the negative effects of digital game play.
I recently got word that I have another paper that has been accepted for publication. This one was co-authored with Nick Taylor, Jen Jenson, and Suzanne de Castell. My contribution comes right out of my dissertation so think of this paper as a sneak-peek of chapter 3 (where I argue that only a very narrow type of play practices make up the majority of public conversations about EVE).
We are only just entering the copyediting phase so it will be a while before it appears in online before print, so for now here is the abstract:
Alienated Playbour: Relations of Production in EVE Online
This paper explores the play practices of EVE Online industrialists: those primarily responsible for generating the materials and equipment that drive the game’s robust economy. Applying the concept of “immaterial labour” to this under-attended aspect of the EVE community, we consider the range of communicative and informational artifacts and activities industrialists enact in support of their involvement in the game – work that happens both in-game and, crucially outside of it. Moving past the increasingly anachronistic distinctions between digitally-mediated labour and leisure, in-game and out-of-game, we examine the relations of production in which these players are situated: to other EVE players, in-game corporations, the game’s developer, and the broader digital economy. Seen from this perspective, we consider the extent to which EVE both ideologically and economically supports the extension of capital into increasing aspects of our everyday lives – a ‘game’ in which many play, but few win.