Building Virtual Friendships through Mirrored Gestures
Oshiro, Miya Sanura
MetadataShow full item record
During the COVID-19 pandemic isolation period, social gaming was an effective way for people to find connections and alleviate feelings of loneliness. However, the communication systems built within these games have limitations. In-game communication systems usually consist of emotes, predetermined avatar gestures, and simple chat features. Due to these limitations, critical social cues, such as nonverbal synchrony, are lost during these online interactions. This study evaluates the integration of nonverbal gesture synchrony in social games as a potential addition to existing communication systems to foster genuine social connections between players during online play. The game environment for this research study is an emote-based and a gesture-based version of the social game KANDI.io. When comparing the two versions in structured game sessions, this study found an enjoyment preference for the gesture-based experience. However, after further discussion, it was determined that there was no overall preference for this experience over the emote-based design. These results revealed that when engaging with open-play games like the gesture-based system, some players felt vulnerable, experienced player distrust, and became more conscious of the interaction context.