Games/Gaming


Since the early 1980s I have played fantasy games, from Dungeons and Dragons to Magic: the Gathering, Diablo II, Mage Knight, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Anachronism and now to EVE Online and Diablo III. My long-term interest in the fantasy and sci-fi genres, combined with what I see as an only-slowing changing bias against fantasy games/gaming by many people who know little or nothing about them, has led me to study various cultural aspects of games and gaming. I am particularly interested in the relationship between the experience of gaming, selfhood, and identity.

Massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) are particularly intruiging sites for research because of their growing appeal. MMOGs are not only sites for leisure; they are rich social environments that offer new forms of sociality just as they demand new levels of commitment and facilitate new types of social action. MMOGs also have the potential for new forms of learning among young people and adults alike.


 

Current project (2012-2015)


Development of a empirically-based theory of social action that is applicable to virtual game worlds. This work arose out of the findings from my previous project combined with the work of my former PhD student David Kirschner. We are in the process of writing a book-length manuscript on social action in virtual game worlds from a symbolic interactionist perspective and are soliciting a number of top-tier social science publishers.


Prior project (2009-2012)


Three-year funded study on MMOGs with emphasis on World of Warcraft. Working with a small team of graduate and undergraduate sociology students, I have been exploring the dynamic relationship between player and gameworld. My interest is across all levels of play and to that end we have observational and interview data from individuals who had never previously played an MMOG, novice players as they level their characters, and 'hardcore' players who raid endgame content.


Publications


[check my CV page for links to many of my publications]


[forthcoming] Williams, J. Patrick. “Playing Games Is (Not Always) Fun.” In Dennis Waskul and Phillip Vannini (Eds.) Popular Culture as Everyday Life. New York: Routledge.

2014 Kirschner, David, and J. Patrick Williams. “Measuring Video Game Engagement through Gameplay Reviews.” Simulation & Gaming 45(4-5):593-610. doi: 10.1177/1046878114554185

2014. Kirschner, David, and J. Patrick Williams. “A Microsociological Perspective on Non-Verbal Communicative Strategies in MMORPGs.” Pp. 307-322 in Joshua Tanenbaum, Magy Seif el-Nasr, and Michael Nixon (Eds.) Nonverbal Communication in Virtual Worlds. Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon ETC Press.

2014 Williams, J. Patrick, David Kirschner, and Zahirah Broder-Suhaimi. "Structural Roles in Massively Multiplayer Online Games: A Case Study of Guild and Raid Leaders in World of Warcraft." Studies in Symbolic Interaction 43:121-142.

2013 Williams, J. Patrick, and David Kirschner. "Elements of Social Action: A Micro- Analytic Approach to the Study of
Collaborative Behavior in Digital Games."Defragging Game Studies: Proceedings of the DiGRA 2013 Conference. Atlanta, GA.

2013 Kirschner, David, and J. Patrick Williams. "Experts and Novices or Expertise? Positioning Players through Gameplay Reviews." Defragging Game Studies: Proceedings of the DiGRA 2013 Conference. Atlanta, GA.

2012 Williams, J. Patrick, and David Kirschner. “Coordinated Action in the Massively Multiplayer Online Game World of Warcraft.” Symbolic Interaction 35(3):340-368.

2012. Subrahimi, Zahirah binte, and J. Patrick Williams. “Whose World is it, Anyway? An Analysis of the Motivation of World of Warcraft Players in Understanding the Dynamics of the Singaporean Political-economy.” Proceedings of the URECA@NTU 2010-11. Singapore: Nanyang Technological University.

2010. Zuiker, Steven J., J. Patrick Williams, David Kirschner, Katherine Greer Littlefield, and Manikantan Krishnamurthy. “Alone Together in Cyberworlds? Bridging Cyberworld Development and Design through Educational MMOs.” Pp. 309-313 in Alexei Sourin and Olga Sourina (Eds.) 2010 International Conference on Cyberworlds. Washington, D.C.: IEEE CS CPS Press.

2009. Williams, J. Patrick. “Community, Frame of Reference, Boundary: Three Sociological Concepts and Their Relevance for Virtual Worlds Research.” Qualitative Sociology Review 5(2):3-16.

2007. J. Patrick Williams and Jonas Heide Smith. (Eds.). The Players' Realm : Studies on the Culture of Video Games and Gaming. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

2007. Williams, J. Patrick, and Jonas Heide Smith. “Digital Gaming and Social Life in the Early 21st Century.” In J. Patrick Williams and Jonas Heide Smith (eds.). The Players' Realm : Studies on the Culture of Video Games and Gaming.Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

2006. J. Patrick Williams, Sean Q. Hendricks, and W. Keith Winkler. (Eds.) Gaming as Culture: Essays in Reality, Identity and Experience in Fantasy Games. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

2006 Williams, J. Patrick. “Consumption and Authenticity in Collectible Strategy Games Subculture.” Pp. 77-99 in J. Patrick Williams, Sean Q. Hendricks, and W. Keith Winkler (eds.) Gaming as Culture: Essays in Reality, Identity and Experience in Fantasy Games. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

2006. Williams, J. Patrick, Sean Q. Hendricks, and W. Keith Winkler. “Fantasy Games, Gaming Cultures and Social Life.” Pp. 1-18 in J. Patrick Williams, Sean Q. Hendricks, and W. Keith Winkler (eds.)Gaming as Culture: Essays in Reality, Identity and Experience in Fantasy Games. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.