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Recently, computer games producers have integrated Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) into distributed multiplayer games, allowing gamers playing at a distance to talk to each other. What effect does this have on gameplay? A longitudinal study of a multiplayer team game is presented. Our analysis looks at how the players (all adults) used VoIP to resource their interaction with each other in the virtual game world. We found that VoIP represents talk in ways that differ both to face-to-face communication and to text-mediated communications. VoIP audio representations interact with, and mediate, the graphical materials of the game world in distinctive and unusual ways which can generate problems to be overcome for players. But they also provide clear benefits for learning and coordination, which are found neither in face-to-face or text communication. We conclude by considering the implications of these problems and benefits for design.
Date of Conference: 23-24 March 2009