“One thing I found is that, in general, the social dynamics of the MMORPGs were actually more complex and interesting than those in the so-called ‘virtual social worlds,’” Moore says. This finding surprised him at first, as one might expect to find more sociability in worlds that appear designed for it. But Moore soon realized that much of the “play” in these areas resembles “mingling at a cocktail party – conversation, both public and private, are the main thing to do there.” The skills required are general social skills – wit, charm and good communication skills. Contrast this with play in MMORPGs, which he says is more like a group poker night. “Here, you don’t need to be charming or witty to engage with others. All you need to know is how to play the game. And once you’re in the game, you don’t even need to talk that much… but the game gives you a reason to interact with others.” Games, then, provide a framework around which sociable interaction can emerge.

Worlds In Motion - AGDC: Multiverse’s Moore On Why Social Worlds Need Games