Work–game balance: Work interference, social capital, and tactical play in a mobile massively multiplayer online real-time strategy game

Anya Hommadova Lu, Stephen Carradini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mobile gaming has experienced rapid growth with the development of mobile technology. A mechanic of constant risk in the mobile massively multiplayer online real-time strategy game Lords Mobile prompted us to investigate the effects of the game on players’ work activities. Through a 19-month virtual ethnography of Lords Mobile, we found that game and work activities affected each other. Study participants played the game at work due to the constant risk mechanic, resulting in time-based and strain-based work interference. Players also reported receiving some social support for work stress, but development and use of social capital around work topics was unexpectedly limited. Resisting the “work” and “non-work” binary, some players avoided some areas of interference by playing tactically throughout the day. In the context of work–game relationship, players reported interference more often than use of social capital or tactical play. We suggest that the constant risk mechanic needs more research and that players structuring their play and work activities so that the relationships between them are positive instead of negative could be called work–game balance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNew Media and Society
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Massively multiplayer online games
  • mobile gaming
  • real-time strategy
  • social capital
  • tactical play
  • virtual ethnography
  • work interference
  • work–game balance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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