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Gaming on and off the social graph: the social structure of Facebook games

By Ben Kirman, Shaun Lawson and Conor Linehan

Abstract

Games built on Online Social Networks (OSNs) have become a phenomenon since 3rd party developer tools were released by OSNs such as Facebook. However, apart from their explosive popularity, little is known about the nature of the social networks that are built during play. In this paper, we present the findings of a network analysis study carried out on two Facebook applications, in comparison with a similar but stand-alone game. We found that games built both on and off a social graph exhibit similar social properties. Specifically, the distribution of player-to-player interactions decays as a power law with a similar exponent for the majority of players. For games built on the social network platform however, we find that the networks are characterised by a sharp cut-off, compared with the classically scale-free nature of the social network for the game not built on an existing social graph

Topics: G440 Human-computer Interaction
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lincoln.ac.uk:2168

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