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Title: Running with Newbies: Understanding Online Communities Through the Eyes of Second-Generation Gamers 
Author: Kelly, Shawna Kathleen
Date: 2012-05
Publisher: University of Southern California Graduate School
Citation: University of Southern California thesis, Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, Ph.D., 2012
Abstract: The growing popularity of video games is introducing a new generation of video game players to online communities and the communicative behaviors of these second-generation gamers open new ways to understand the social impacts of interactive entertainment. This dissertation examines how second-generation gamers offer insights into dispositions, identity performance, community membership, and video game addiction. Ethnographic research of players entering the online gaming community of World of Warcraft suggests that second-generation gamers are neither “hardcore” nor “casual” players, but have developed a different disposition from those described by previous games researchers. The five key attributes of the second-generation gaming disposition are that they are ease-of-use oriented, embody diversity, thrive on consistency, learn only what is necessary and rely on proven solutions. Second-generation gamers are also more likely to fall outside of the “typical gamer” stereotype in terms of gender, age, and ethnicity. They respond to the dominant gamer culture by making performance decisions for both their personal and social identities. After entering the online community, second-generation gamers must decide how to present themselves to other players and learn their role in the community. For some second-generation players, online interactions with other players and with the gaming community take on a deeply meaningful role in their everyday lives. Lastly, in response to the popular discourse of video game addiction, second-generation players develop play-limiting strategies which suggest that “addiction” is not a useful framework for understanding their motivations for playing video games.
Pages/Duration: 184
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10524/31842
Keywords: World of Warcraft, Massively Multiplayer Online Games, social identity, gamer stereotypes, identity performance, game addiction
LC Subject Headings: Ethnology

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