The Social Arcade
Why social play is important? How might social video gaming impact the wellbeing of an individual? Is there a way to fulfil an individual's gaming purpose in a more social environment? This project worked to provide the groundwork for the creation of an innovative physical space that utilizes technologies to bring people from different walks of life closer together through the platform of video games.
As the technological capabilities of video gaming have advanced over the last few years, video games have gradually been more geared towards an individual’s experience and also moved from public space to the privacy of an individual’s home. This has resulted in qualitative differences in social interactions during video gaming, which may have repercussions at levels of social networks, support, and learning.
What did the project involve?
This project worked to provide the groundwork for the creation of an innovative space that utilizes technologies to bring people from different walks of life closer together through the platform of video games. They sort to make the space accessible and inviting for a diverse demographic. Living well in the 21st century means staying connected with other people (Richard, Gauvin, Gosselin & Laforest, 2008), which impacts positively on health and negatively on depression. Digital play has been linked to positive outcomes (Hall, Chavarria, Maneeratana, Chaney & Bernhardt, 2012), but had largely been studied only in aging populations, and not in bespoke interactive spaces. This project took the first steps in exploring how can we utilize existing technologies more efficiently for connecting a broader base of diverse individuals together in the same physical location. Beyond this, the team aimed to promote and explore different kinds of play which have been linked to creativity via self-expression, stress reduction, and relaxation. Digital play provides the opportunity to use executive function skills and if engineered in a shared physical space, can provide an outlet for positive social interaction.
Who are the team and what do they bring?
- Prof Melissa Allen (School of Education, University of Bristol)
- Alexie Segal, Pervasive Media Studio Resident
What were the results?
To increase research knowledge the team ran a workshop to bring together gaming industry professionals, creative producers, architects, passionate gamers and non-gamers, and academics. The space provided interactive discussion and debate around: shared space co-op gaming, the importance of play, the social benefits of video games and the role they could play in living well for a diverse audience.
The researchers solidified the research question, gathered information and primary research on people’s views of social gaming, and identified what additional knowledge and skills might be required for the next step of the research project.