The online gaming industry has grown rapidly in the recent years. Moreover, online gaming has a great influence on our identity. Through the use of different online games people are able to express themselves. More and more players escape reality and immerse themselves in the virtual world, and construct their own identity. However, the issue is that with online games such as second life, the border between reality and virtual world becomes thinner. On the other hand, online gaming is taking over numerous amount of people’s real life.
Gamers use the platform to create another identity, each identity online is most likely to represent an aspect of your overall personality. Virtual self is becoming an integral part of gamers’ personality. Online personality is influenced by offline identity. Gamers use Avatars to project not only their personality, but also reflect things around them. According to Wan and Shiou , who study of psychological motivations of MMORPG (Masively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), it “provided them with a compensatory channel for unsatisfying needs or motivations in their real life, or for the same things they are seeking in real life (Griffiths & Hussain, 2009).” Not everyone is satisfied with their current life. When they come to online gaming, they want to be something else, something cannot be achieved in real life. A normal accountant can be a super hero in virtual world, a heavy-weighted woman could transfer into a super model, a 13 year-old kid could be a giant and more impossible things could happen inside online game.
Virtual games enabled people to create different identities through the use of avatars. Take Second Life as an example, avatar serve as an expression of the person identity. After all, an avatar is your persona in the virtual world. The gamer is becoming the creator of its own online identity, they totally take control over how they look, how they act in virtual world. By choosing gender, skin colour, and personality traits…avatar enable users to distance them from their offline personality and create a different person from their real self.
However, the problem is oline identity is taking over real identity. Gamers can decline their identity to infinity, be whatever they want but online gamers do not live; they only play some fictional character they aspire to become. Yes, online game can act as a relief from their stress and other problems of their real life, as a way to entertain and relax oneself; yet it can lead to addiction where people forget their own self in reality.
Here are photos of me and my friends with our characters in a same online game. Of course, we are not that crazily addicted to that but just to show how online identity works in online gaming.
Griffiths, D., & Hussain, Z. (2009). Excessive use of Massively Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Games: A Pilot Study. International journal of mental health and addiction, 7:563–571. doi: 10.1007/s11469-009-9202-8, http://derby.academia.edu/ZaheerHussain/Papers/435951/Excessive_Use_of_Massively_Multi-Player_Online_Role-Playing_Games_A_Pilot_Study