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Online Games

JAMES D. IVORY and APHRA KERR


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The term “online game” describes any digital game that can be played online using a computer network, typically the → Internet . Since the first decade of the twenty-first century, most popular commercial digital games released have incorporated online play features. Considering that online games are defined by the characteristic of being played online rather than by a characteristic of their content or mechanics, there are many types of popular online games. Perhaps the iconic online game → genre , largely because it is a genre that is by definition only played as an online game, is the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) genre. MMORPG games are characterized by their large number of players connecting online simultaneously via their game character avatars to interact cooperatively (and sometimes competitively) in a virtual world, typically for hours at a time (→ Avatars and Agents ). MMORPGs, some of which number their subscribers in the millions, are an exemplar of “virtual worlds.” According to Castronova (2001) , virtual worlds are online spaces that are marked by three traits: persistence (events and changes in the virtual environment take place constantly whether a player is online or not); interactivity (actions of users influence other users and the environment experienced by other users); and physicality (the user is provided with an interface ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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