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date: 17 April 2024

Identification and Parasocial Relationships With Video Game Characterslocked

Identification and Parasocial Relationships With Video Game Characterslocked

  • Arienne FerchaudArienne FerchaudFlorida State University

Summary

The field of game studies rests on how video game players use their relationships with their avatars to fulfill the goals of the game. From studies on the effects of violence in video games to examinations of serious games for entertainment and/or education, all areas presume a level of connection between player and the avatar they control. This relationship is first defined by the type of play style—that is, the approach the player takes when sitting down to play. Next is the avatar—the graphical representation of the player—that will differ drastically from game to game. Based on these two individuals, one actual the other simulated, a relationship of some sort is built. This relationship can be monadic, meaning the player fully identifies with the avatar to the point that they are the same being. In contrast, it could be dyadic, in which a separation exists between player and avatar more akin to a parasocial relationship (PSR). Further, some scholars have suggested that the relationship between player and avatar exists on a continuum known as player-avatar relationships. Concepts like presence and empathy can be used to predict the strength of the relationship between player and avatar. This bond is incredibly important and can be used to predict both enjoyment of the game and cultivate story-consistent attitudes. Future research should examine more closely the nature of PSRs between avatar and player, as this context is relatively unexplored.

Subjects

  • Communication and Technology
  • Communication Theory
  • Mass Communication

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