INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL GAMING ON PLAYER BEHAVIOR

Social interactions in casinos have always been a priority. Even before games went online, players got to meet people from all walks of life by playing in casinos. These were safe spaces where they could discuss anything from business ventures to travel itineraries. And once casinos became available online, their social influences did not quieten. If anything, the advent of social and sweepstakes casinos paved the way for more authentic interactions that shaped player behavior on and off the casino. So, what social aspects do these casinos have? Most importantly, how do they affect player behavior? 

Social Aspects in Casinos

The first online casinos had basic features. People would log in, play games, and cash out without interacting with other people. While this was convenient, many players wanted something more, prompting casino operators to consider adding social aspects to the games. Now, most casinos include the following features:

  1. Live chats: Players can talk to each other through the chat options. These allow them to get to know who they are playing with. These messaging boards are often flexible, so players can talk about more than just the game. As such, the conversations mimic what players would experience if they were to walk into a physical casino. To further enhance these experiences, casinos allow players to turn the chats on and off so they can interact when they want to and enjoy quiet gameplay the rest of the time.

  2. Community forums: The need to belong has always been strong in human nature. That’s why people sign up for clubs, support certain teams, belong to political parties, etc. Casinos understand that this need is innate and have thus created platforms where people can find like-minded individuals who share their passions. On these platforms, people can share gaming tips, answer questions related to leveling up, or even veer to other topics. Casinos often employ moderators to ensure the conversations are within the community guidelines.

  3. Collaborative gameplay: Social casinos have especially been using this tactic to help players interact with each other. It enables players to work together to achieve a common goal. Here are some examples:

  • Collaborative tournaments: In these setups, players join a team and work together to win the top positions. Each player must contribute by playing if they want to enjoy the spoils. The more a player contributes, the more they get, but the team has to work together, as a single player cannot carry the entire group through the tournament.

  • Friendly assists: Most games will have a limit on tokens, lives, or other items required to keep playing. Once a player runs out, they must wait for a certain period or buy the items. However, there is a twist in social games – players can ask their teammates to help them. To do this, their teammates pay a small amount (e.g., through tokens or lives) to support the stranded player. It allows the player to remain in the game and keep contributing to the team. 

  1. Virtual friend setups: This aspect works in two ways. The first is where people can invite their friends to play with them using social media or other apps – This allows them to keep interacting even in the virtual world. What’s more, they can compete with each other to see who gets the highest points. The second option allows players to make friends while enjoying the game. In this case, a player can request people to befriend them, paving the way for live chats and collaborative gaming.

  2. Live gaming: Casinos have gone a step further to include live games. These allow players to interact with each other in real-time by turning on their mics and cameras as the game ensues. Since they can see each other, they can talk to each other freely. This aspect is especially exciting for games of skill such as poker and blackjack. It has also shown a lot of success in games of chance, such as bingo.

More recently, the social aspects have become even more realistic with the entry of augmented reality and virtual reality. Augmented reality makes the graphics and sounds feel more realistic by curating them to mimic what one would see in the physical world. Virtual reality is more immersive as it allows players to interact with these virtual elements in the virtual world. These techniques have made it easy for people to act as avatars in the gaming realm, which is much like what they would find in a physical casino.

The Influence of Social Aspects in Casinos

Casinos have invested many resources to cater to the growing demand for social aspects. But how has this shaped player behavior?

  1. Friendliness: When players get to be part of a community, they develop a high sense of satisfaction that makes it easy for them to be kinder to other players. Take the example of collaborative tournaments. Players understand that to win, everyone must be at their best. They are thus ready to share tokens, lives, or other items that can help their counterparts get past hurdles that could hold them back. When players receive such support from others, they extend it to other players in the games. Better yet, this positive chain goes beyond the games and transcends to physical social interactions, e.g., at work, where collaboration is key to achieving a common goal.

  2. Sociability: Interacting with players teaches people how to approach social situations. They learn how to discern what to say and when to say it. Moreover, since gaming environments can be challenging and competitive, people learn to maintain good relationships despite such issues. For example, players might give their all to a tournament and still lose. They will learn not to take it out on the team and instead find ways to play better and work with the team. These lessons also transfer to social settings, e.g., learning not to blame family members for something nobody could have avoided.

  3. Connectivity: Many people lead busy lives and rarely have time to go out with their friends. It can even be more isolating if someone stays without friends and family for long periods. Social aspects enable people to enjoy connections with others, which helps them alleviate feelings of loneliness. By logging in for a few minutes each day and playing alongside others, players can quieten the negative effects of not being around others. Even better, players can use games to interact with their friends by urging them to sign up on gaming sites where they can play together.

Social aspects make games more exciting as people get to combine the thrill of challenging competitions with the relaxation of being around supportive people. Players can thus lean into these social aspects to better themselves not only in their online etiquette but also in their real-life friendships. The key lies in actively participating in these social aspects, e.g., being part of teams, competing in tournaments, using the live chat features, etc. And once virtual reality games take hold of the market, players should take advantage of this development to immerse themselves in the games even more. 

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