Is Electronic Community an Addictive Substance?


In this study, we examine how online games, like the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) EverQuest, are represented and controlled through media rhetoric. We look at international attempts to regulate their use through policy, and unearth some of the ways in which media reports have constructed public opinion of online games. We then contrast those reports with an ethnographic study of the EverQuest environment. The analysis of game experience and informant testimony shows that regulation and control of games is ultimately not a correct course of action in order to heal social dysfunction, of which excessive participation in electronic communities is only a symptom.