The Power of Social Features in Online Gaming

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Within the vast and rich field of online gaming, a new generation of Online Social Games (OSGs) is emerging that have in common a core of social interaction, sometimes explicit, other times implicit. This common core of social experience promises to become at least as important as the experience derived from the game-­‐world itself. In this chapter, we consider the social side of OSGs and provide the following contributions: 1.We motivate the importance of taking social features into account to improve the quality of experience in online gaming. 2.We discuss the various dimensions of (player experience in) OSGs.
3.We describe a social network analysis methodology for identifying relations in OSGs and indicate how this methodology could be used to improve the game-­‐play experience. 4.We also consider and illustrate how certain “social” behaviour, like toxicity, is negative and may harm the game-­‐play experience, if not adequately addressed. 5.We mention several directions for future research to put the power of social features in OSGs to good use.