Washington, February 15 (ANI): A study on people who often visit websites carrying online games has revealed that most of them play with those who stay in their general geographic area.
Social scientist and engineer Noshir Contractor, of Northwestern University, has revealed his team chose virtual games for their study because tracking a person's social network, which could include hundreds of contacts that serve different purposes, is nearly impossible in the real world.
However, he added, in online virtual games like EverQuest II-where tens of thousands of people leave digital traces as they chat with one another, perform quests together, form groups and buy and sell goods-a gold mine of networking data can be found.
The researchers analysed this data along with a survey of 7,000 players-making it one of the largest social science research projects ever performed.
Presenting the study at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, Contractor said that the most surprising finding was that even though players could play the game with anyone, anywhere, most people played with people in their general geographic area.
"People end up playing with people nearby, often with people they already know," Contractor said.
"It's not creating new networks. It's reinforcing existing networks. You can talk to anyone anywhere, and yet individuals 10 kilometres away from each other are five times more likely to be partners than those who are 100 kilometres away from each other," the researcher added. (ANI)