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Social Presence in Team-Based Digital Games

Hudson, Matthew (2014) Social Presence in Team-Based Digital Games. EngD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the concept of social presence in team-based digital games, aiming to enlighten the core elements of social presence in this specific multi-user experience. The thesis achieves this exploration in three main ways, by using a novel approach to establish the core elements of social presence in team-based digital games, by developing a new measure for social presence specifically tailored for team-based digital games, and by exploring the effects of contextual gameplay factors on social presence in a large scale user study. The thesis documents the work carried out over the course of an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) sponsored by BAE Systems, who gave an industry perspective, helped to set the direction of the research and guide it throughout the program. The industry relevance to studying social presence in team-based digital games was the analogous nature of teambased games to virtual training technologies such as simulators and serious games, and the lack of understanding of social elements within these technologies. The research questions for this thesis were as follows: What is the nature of social presence in team-based digital games? How social presence is affected by sharing a team-based virtual environment with human or computer controlled entities? What other contextual elements encourage or reduce feelings of social presence? The first set of studies detailed in this thesis were a preliminary exploration of social presence in team-based digital games, a group of short user studies termed experiential vignettes, investigating the effect of agency on user experience. The experiential vignettes suggest that social presence is affected by a player’s perception of the other entities in the virtual environment, however the extent of the affect is highly dependent on task. These preliminary studies led to the development of a questionnaire designed to measure social presence in team-based digital games, the competitive and cooperative social presence questionnaire (CCPIG), developed and validated using user studies. The CCPIG was utilized and further validated in a large scale user study which aimed to explore the conceptual crossover between team trust and social presence, and how various contextual variables affected these concepts. This thesis shows that competitive and cooperative social presence are two distinct concepts, and that there is significant conceptual crossover between social presence and established notions of team trust. This thesis also shows that social presence is highly context dependent, affected by agency, familiarity with other players, team performance, and the nature of the game in which the experience occurs.

Item Type: Thesis (EngD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Computer Science (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.648013
Depositing User: Dr Matthew Hudson
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2015 15:16
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9109

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