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Social Interaction in Virtual Worlds

Editors: Kiran Lakkaraju and Gita Sukthankar

Online games, such as World of Warcraft, Second Life, Angry Birds etc. or
others have become a huge phenomena; recent surveys show  that 59% of
Americans play video games [1]. A genre of games, Massively Multiplayer
Online Games, like World of Warcraft and Eve Online, stand out as complex,
rich environments in which players develop strong social connections with
each other, fight over resources and territories, engage in diplomacy, and
form and maintain large, complex organizations. In short these are “Virtual
Worlds” that capture many of the dynamics of the real world. Virtual worlds
can thus be a window towards studying and understanding human behavior.

One of the major challenges (and opportunities) with studying human
behavior in virtual worlds is the interdisciplinary nature. Many
fundamental computer science problems arise in analyzing large quantities
of data (“big data”), but along with that are foundational questions on
human behavior. It’s clear that human’s change behavior when playing a
game, but what types of behavior changes? Do people put on different
personalities online (recent evidence suggests that this is not always the
case)? Studying behavior within virtual worlds is an inherently
interdisciplinary endeavor, requiring the expertise of computer scientists,
statisticians, economists, sociologists and psychologists.
This multi-author volume intends to present a  unified perspective on the
field, drawing from contributions from a variety of disciplines. Thus, we
are requesting chapter proposals on a variety of topics, from multiple
disciplines, around the areas of:

Who plays games:
* Demographics of players
* Behavioral/Psychological characteristics of players.
* Cultural differences between players.

Games in the real world:
* Use of games to foster social interaction.
* MMOGs and training.
* Detecting malicious behavior in games.

Social Systems in Games:
* Team/group formation, evolution.
* Leadership emergence.
* Norm/behavior emergence.

* July 31st, 2015: Chapter proposal deadline.
* August 15th, 2015: Notifications.
* February 1st, 2016: Chapters due.


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[1] 2014 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, (accessed on July 27th,

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