Washington, Feb 28 (ANI): Online, interactive gaming communities are now so massive that they mirror traditional communities, says a new study.
The findings by a University of Minnesota computer scientist and colleagues from across the country are creating a new evolution of social science research where researchers are able to study human behavior using the game Everquest 2.
To reach the conclusion, the research team analysed three years of data (over 60 terabytes) from the complete server logs and click-streams of Sony's popular PC game.
The data tracked every action performed in one of the world's most popular massively multiplayer online (MMO) games. Everquest 2 has more than 300,000 players who average 26 hours per week playing the game. Because of the intense level of involvement and multi-player environment of the game, the researchers were able to study human behavioral dynamics using the game as a proxy.
The researchers used the virtual world to model the social and behavioral dynamics of individuals, groups, and networks within large communities.
Their study presented evidence that the social sciences are at the threshold of a fundamental shift not only in our understanding of the social and behavioral sciences, but also the ways in which we study them.
The study was presented at a 90-minute symposium "Analyzing Virtual Worlds: Next Step in the Evolution of Social Science Research" at this year's annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest meeting of scientists. (ANI)