Social Features in Video Games: A Potential Alternative for Socializing and Physical Interaction

Crombie, Benen, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Seabrook, Bryn, Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Garner, Gavin, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Virginia

Video Games have been subject to many technical and non-technical changes over the years, one of them being the addition of social features, or features that allow players to virtually socialize with one another without physical interaction. Many social groups and their respective desires drove the development and employment of these features. The following research will address the question: Why have gaming companies promoted social features in video games to serve as a replacement for physical interaction and socialization? This research will address the motives of involved social groups including parents, video game companies, children, and advocates of children’s wellbeing. Additionally, the effectiveness of social features will be assessed. The Social Construction of Technology theory will guide the following research to analyze the demand for social features in video games, and the consequence of their development. Video games and other forms of digital media have become a primary source of entertainment and influence in American children. It is important to analyze any quickly growing technology in the lens of STS to ensure that society guides and responds to technology responsibly. Takeaways from the following research should be considered by video game companies, and companies in similar industries before developing any technology.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Video Games, Digital Media, Socialization, Mental Health, Fortnite, Dance Dance Revolution, Gaming
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