Implications of Online Gaming

Matt Kiefaber

Gaming is inherently social. Throughout history, playing games has been closely linked with building relationships and reinforcing social hierarchies. However, with the advent of video games this social aspect of gaming quickly began to disappear. Almost all of these video games were solitaire in nature, and it was rare to find a game that incorporated the play of two or more players. Along with this anti-social aspect, many other negative issues were brought forth concerning video game play: addiction, aggressive behavior, decrease in intelligence, and promotion of gender biases and stereotypes.

With the recent growth in popularity of the Internet, these once solitaire games have evolved into a new medium, online gaming. The Internet has allowed people in different locations to play games with each other. Thus, the Internet has provided an excellent platform to return games to their social roots. How does this new medium potentially answer the issues that have thus far plagued video games? And what new issues might be brought forth because of this new environment? These implications of online gaming are going to be examined and hopefully some answers will be brought forth.

[Update Note:  The implications of online gaming have continued to be an important area of research since the original creation of this tutorial.  An example of this work can be found in a 2008 study published as part of the Pew Internet and American Life Project. An additional recent resource is the informative Interactive Timeline of Online Gaming created by Internet Providers, 2016.]

This project was produced for Psy380, Social Psychology of Cyberspace, Spring 1998, at Miami University.
This document was created April 19, 1998 and last modified on  Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 22:43:34.  Please send comments and suggestions to