communities are social networks built around multiplayer online games. The members of these communities typically share an interest in online gaming and much interaction between them is technologically mediated. Marko Siitonen, University of Jyväskylä has studied the social communities online multiplayer interaction in his doctoral thesis of voice communication.

Multiplayer online games is a playground which can give us clues about the future of social and technological change, Siitonen states.

The online multiplayer games allow the formation of lasting relationships

Online multiplayer games typically encourage interaction between players, some even require it. Collaboration with other agents may be a prerequisite for the progress of a game or a game can be based on competition between the players.

Typical online games can be played quite independently, without seeking closer contact with other players. However, social interaction is a strong reason not only to play online, even for a period of forming social relationships with other players, Siitonen says.

The online game is based on the possibilities of computer networks. This shows the extent of communication that typically offer multiplayer games. A single game can support communication based on text, image and sound. Moreover, a game allowing an interaction between two people, and allow communication between all groups and communities.

In addition to using communication methods that offer games, multiplayer community members can keep in touch face to face, by telephone, email or IRC, Siitonen says.

Long-term interaction lays the foundation for the emotional

Social interaction between members of multiplayer communities share similarities with the interaction of face-to-face groups. Shared values ​​and goals are the foundation upon which a common understanding and a sense of community is built.

The negotiation of values ​​and goals is an ongoing process that takes place throughout the existence of a community. Reflected, for example, by the way new members are accepted into the community and how the roles that are important to the functioning of the community expressed. Disagreement on these issues can lead to conflicts within communities, but the resolution of these conflicts can serve the purpose to strengthen or change the basis of the community.

The traditional building blocks of identity, such as appearance or age, are often insignificant in the community of multiplayer games. A schoolgirl of 13, French, a housewife of 27 years, Swedish, and an American engineer 44 years can all be members of a community. When the members never meet face to face, they form perceptions of the other asset-based or example, how reliable they think the others are, Siitonen describes.

The formation of other members of the images can be fast and technologically mediated environment. Yet, the reputation is based on long-term social interaction does not matter in online multiplayer communities. And motivation are emphasized technologically mediated communication and active members are often held positions of leadership in the community.

Online multiplayer communities are subject to change. Die old and new communities will continue, and players often move between communities. However, social networks and personal relationships are the basis of these communities can survive the abolition of the Community. It 'possible that multiplayer will rise from the ashes of the old.
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Siitonen used interviews and information collected through participant observation as the data for his research. The observation was collected from two different communities of multiplayer online game called Anarchy Online.

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