Game Streaming Revisited: Some Observations on Marginal Practices and Contexts

Lin Holin Sun Chuen-Tsai Liao Ming-Chung
2019 DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix

The focus of this paper is on the spectating phenomenon of live streaming gameplay, which has been described as “marginal.” After reviewing important non-gaming factors capable of bringing game streaming from the analytical margins to the center, we discuss the larger context in which game streaming is embedded, plus its implications. Data were gathered via in-depth interviews with game stream viewers, analyses of game streaming-related forum posts, and an online survey. According to our observations, game streaming should not be viewed as only a game-related phenomenon or extended gameplay practice, but also as a type of cross-media entertainment involving multiple media consumption characteristics—a form of stage performance, a space for social interaction, and as entertainment similar to hosted variety shows and reality television. Consumers tend to move among multiple streaming activities serving assorted media functions in search of entertainment, with their identities changing according to personal time restrictions and social situations.


Exploring clan culture: social enclaves and cooperation in online games

Lin Holin Sun Chuen-Tsai Tinn Hong-Hong
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

Virtual online gaming clan organizations are used to analyze social grouping and cooperation within competitive gaming communities. Participants from two popular massive multi-player online role-playing games (MMORPGs) in Taiwan were interviewed to collect data on the social dynamics of gamer networks in virtual worlds. Our essential argument is that joining online clans involves costs and risks, yet the “law-of-the-jungle” nature of the gaming world and the interdependent role structure of most game designs encourage the formation of gaming groups. Players commonly establish clans consisting of individuals from their off-line networks in order to reduce the risk of cooperating with strangers. A typical portrait of careless and vulnerable teenage gamers is found unsound.


Cash Trade Within the Magic Circle: Free-to-Play Game Challenges and Massively Multiplayer Online Game Player Responses

Lin Holin Sun Chuen-Tsai
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

Cash trades for virtual items in game worlds are now a recognized part of the “free game” business model, but perhaps at the expense of players’ senses of immersion, fairness, and fun. We review several perspectives related to Huizinga’s [8] “magic circle” concept in order to establish an analytical framework, then discuss player opinions in support of or opposed to free games, based on data collected from various sources. Our hope is that this study will be useful for those researchers who are monitoring the rapidly changing line separating game worlds and the physical world.


Leaving a Never-Ending Game: Quitting MMORPGs and Online Gaming Addiction

Lee Ichia Yu Chen-Yi Lin Holin
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

Online game addiction has a negative image and is becoming a public concern in Taiwan. We look at this phenomenon from another perspective, through interviews with gamers who were addicted to a MMORPG but have quit playing, we believe that the multiple reasons causing gamers to leave their game can reflect some more aspects of online game addiction. We then map out how a gamer’s attachment to a game changes over time due to many factors, stressing the importance of dynamic quitting and addiction patterns to better understand the addicted gamer’s game experience over time. Lastly, we observed self consciousness in these addicted players as they selfmonitored and sought help in many ways to quit a game. We hope this study will be useful for researchers who are trying to better understand online game addiction.


Game Tips as Gifts: Social Interactions and Rational Calculations in Computer Gaming

Sun Chuen-Tsai Lin Holin Ho Cheng-Hong
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

The authors look at online tip exchanges as parts of gift economies created by the players and designers of console and online role-playing games in Taiwan. A group of experienced players and tip contributors agreed to be interviewed about the mechanisms and processes of providing free strategy guides on the Internet. Their comments reveal needs for social approval and networking in addition to their perceptions of rational exchange in the interest of completing games. The authors speculate on the social norms behind tip cultures, and their influences on game play and management.


Thrifty Players in a Twisted Game World? — A Study on Private Online Game Servers [Abstract]

Lin Holin Sun Chuen-Tsai
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

Online gamers’ playing on private servers has become an important phenomenonin many parts of the world. For most of the popular online MMOGs (Massivelymultiplayer online games), unauthorized private servers operate in parallel toofficial servers. Although lack of reliable statistics on the scale of this ‘informalsector’ of game economy, game providers and authorized local distributors havebeen claiming substantial revenue loss due to private servers. Game industry alsoworks closely with law enforcement authorities to crack down on illegal privateservers and netcafés that provide services or access to them. These privateservers of games are set up and operated by individuals who do not pay licensingfee to the game developer, but use the leaked, stolen, or hacked official sourcecode to run the games in their own servers. The size of private servers varies,with the number of players on each server ranging from a few to severalthousands, or even more. Private servers charge players with lower fees thanofficial servers, sometimes employing a ‘donation system’ to collect voluntarypayment and thus generate revenue. Such underground nature of private serverspartly explained why attention on private game servers has been limited to legaland economic dimensions thus far.In mainstream game culture, the private server players are often seen as eitherthrifty players who chose to save monthly fees of official server, or super-achievers who go after unspeakably fast speed of leveling at the cost of abalanced gaming experience. Also, private game servers are regarded as theillegal substitute for official servers. According to the dominant viewpoint that thegame industry commonly adopts, the role of private servers to public servers islike that of pirate music to the music labels—they are to be blamed for millions ofdollars in lost sales. The number of players who play in private servers can bedirectly translated into loss in profit for the game companies.In this study, we try to explore what motivates players to join private gameservers, why they choose to stay, and their distinctive gaming experiences inprivate servers. Our primary data collection method is in-depth interviews withprivate server players in Taiwan, supplemented by articles and messages relatedto private servers posted on local game bulletin boards and discussion forums.


A Chinese Cyber Diaspora: Contact and Identity Negotiation on Taiwanese WoW Servers

Lin Holin Sun Chuen-Tsai
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

Due to the long-delayed release of World of Warcraft’s (WoW’s) second expansion in China, many Chinese players moved their accounts to Taiwanese servers in 2008. This “WoW rush” resulted in daily contact between tens of thousands of residents of Taiwan and China, two countries whose official relationship is marked by limited contact and political tension. Instead of having short-term political discussions on online forums, Chinese and Taiwanese players are now establishing long-term relationships in ongoing game worlds. This represents a new form of virtual migration, consisting of individuals who physically exist in their home countries, but spend large amounts of time engaged in cross-border interactions in cyberspace. We call this new practice “migration without physical presence.” In this paper we analyze this phenomenon and its implications, and review the characteristics of cross-Taiwan Strait interactions at various stages of this cyber-diaspora.


An Irrational Black Market? Boundary Work Perspective on the Stigma of in-game Asset Transactions

Lee Yu-Hao Lin Holin
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

This article looks at the negative images on cash trades of in-game assets in Taiwan, through interview of participants in this activity, we believe the blurring of boundaries between work and play, adulthood and adolescence, real and virtual is what distinguishes this market from previous markets of virtual goods, resulting in its social stigma. We then discuss how the participants confront this stigma and the ambiguity in their social status, through performing various strategies of redefining marginality or constructing alternative boundaries, the participants raise their sense of selfhood and also reflect the inadequacy of the present social categories.


Gendered Gaming Experience in Social Space: From Home to Internet Café

Lin Holin
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

This paper explores how the social relations embedded in varied gaming spaces affect players’ online gaming experiences, and how gender comes into play in such spatial experiences. Three major sites of online gaming in Taiwan are examined: (1) home as a space of domestic surveillance and discipline; (2) NetCafé as a stigmatized public leisure space; and (3) the student dormitory as gender-segregated space. The results show that social interactions in both virtual and physical spaces are of central importance for the enjoyment of online gamers. Compared with their male counterparts, girls are subjected to more restricted regulations and fewer chances of visiting NetCafé with friends. The size of the playing circle also affects the game playing culture in gender-segregated student dormitories. Bigger circles of players could form peer pressure on non-players, whereas smaller circles usually means fewer resources and lonelier experience.