(Dis-)integrative Effects of MUD-Usage as Seen by the Players

Susanne Keuneke


Most studies on social relationships in Multi-User-Dungeons (MUDs) focus on the online development of the relationships or on their trans¬fer from Virtual Reality (VR) to Real Life (RL). The perspective of my study is broader: 50 players of the German MUD Avalon were questioned in an online survey about the relationships they had gained or lost by playing online – and for their own judgement on the effects the MUD had on their social network. Of these 50, 20 participated in qualitative online interviews; their answers allow a better under¬standing of the quantitative data. The main results of the quantitative survey are that most of the players gained new relationships – in¬cluding an amazingly high number of couples – and only one player lost a friend; nevertheless nearly half of the players had neglected their RL relationships for some time. The interviewees judged these effects according to their RL experiences: Highest ratings were re-ported by those who gained closer relationships in VR than they were used to in RL – even though this might mean that they had simply found acquaintances rather than real friends.


MUDs; Relationships; (Dis-)Integration

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