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Archive for November 2010

The Impact and Role of Computer Games and New Media

by Katharina Weiss

In his lecture on Saturday, 08/07/10, Dr. Jeffrey Wimmer, researcher at the institute of media science and communication studies at Technische Universität Ilmenau with a focus on virtual worlds and digital games, provided an intensive insight in his collection of data and statistics done in 2006/07. A large amount of gamers and players of different agegroups and ranks had been surveyed concerning gaming practices and usage of virtual entertainment.

Jeffrey Wimmer’s presentation and research concentrated on online gaming as the MMORPG World of Warcraft – a fact, that already indicates one of the problems of researching computer games: although a mass phenomenon, scientific research proves as being extremely difficult, even limited. First of all the field of computer games is a huge one. For also casual and “simple” games as Virtual Chess or Solitaire are computer games – and these are also consumed by individuals which would not think of themselves as gamers or players, not even in the moment of playing Virtual Chess. A narrowing down of the object of investigation, as it is done by Jeffrey Wimmer’s project, which contains the gaming categories roleplaying, action, strategy and sports/racing, seems utterly expedient and necessary. To focus on social impact of computer games, Jeffrey Wimmer’s project also largely disregards privatly consumed single player and console games and centres on online games. To find out the disposition and constitution of their social relevance – and to provide scientific evidence of their “social impact” – the survey dealt with diverse categorising questions, which had been presented in statistics to the summerschool in Bremen during Jeffrey Wimmer’s lecture. Statistics concerning the disposition of gender and computer games as well as of agegroups and active playing time were, already with regards to content, considerably revealing relating to social relevance of computer games – for they actually were able to come up with surprising findings and conclusions.

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