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Title: Virtual worlds today : gaming and online sociality
Authors: Calleja, Gordon
Keywords: Multi-user dungeons
Shared virtual environments
Internet games -- Social aspects
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: Heidelberg University Publishing
Citation: Calleja, G. (2007). Virtual worlds today : gaming and online sociality. Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet, 3(1), 7-42.
Abstract: Just over a decade ago, virtual worlds lurked in the shadows of popular media- consciousness, more often associated with cyberpunk fiction than contemporary actuality. Today it has become challenging to browse a newspaper without coming across a Second Life success story or a virtual-tour of World of Warcraft. This dramatic rise in popularity of virtual worlds owes a lot to the development of Massively Multiplayer Online Games; graphical virtual worlds with significantly game-like design structures inhabited by tens of thousands to millions of players. With this rise in popularity comes increased attention from a spectrum of institutions ranging from investing corporations, the mass media, governmental bodies and academia. The popularity of virtual worlds has caused a certain vagueness to accumulate around the term. This has been aggravated by media and marketing sensationalism surrounding all things virtual as well as a ubiquity of application without discrimination as to the implication of the term and its constituent parts. This paper aims to shed some conceptual light on the specific application of the term ‘virtual world’ in relation to the conceptual underpinnings of the ‘virtual’. Following a conceptual discussion of the virtual and the proposal of a working definition for virtual worlds, the paper will give a brief history of major developments in virtual worlds from their inception in 1978 till the present.
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - InsDG

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