Culture Case Study: Video Gamers

As communications professionals, our job is fundamentally about understanding our target audiences, their social and cultural practices, and how we can tell stories that will resonate with them through earned and owned media.

Having worked in interactive entertainment and video games for the last few years on both the media side (GameSpot at CBS Interactive) and publisher side (as agency leads for Halfbrick and Electronic Arts), I’ve worked both amongst and for this diverse community of folk, who’s culture, language and rules are as diverse as the games they play. Put a FIFA pro next to a WoWer and you’ll see a very different representation of what it is to be a video gaming enthusiast, both in Australia and across the globe. The difference in the games people play (and the communities that surround them) plays a major role in the development and propagation of numerous gamer cultures and identities.

Having worked with media frequently to debunk the antisocial or violent stereotypes around gamers, a compulsory intercultural studies subject in my postgrad comms study gave me the opportunity to look more closely at what characteristics, customs and social practices make a gamer. In this instance, insights into the core gamer community surrounding multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game DOTA 2.

Speaking to DOTA 2 clan DYRM (Do You Remember Me?), we discovered a competitive, but highly social and connected community, who fight fiercely in-game to create skills that are strong and respected by their communities. We discovered strong real-world social ties built through the community of in-game groups called “clans”, where in-game play was as valuable and everyday as a night spent out in the “real world”, socialising with clan-mates and gamer friends.

See below for a snapshot of the insights discovered:

In-deck video links:
What are your preconceptions around the video gamer culture? If you’re a gamer, do the cultural characteristics outlined here sound like the communities and culture you identify with?

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