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


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.