Online gaming has gained millions of users around the globe, which have been shown to virtually connect, to befriend, and to accumulate online social capital. Today, as online gaming has become a major leisure time activity, it seems worthwhile asking for the underlying factors of online social capital acquisition and whether online social capital increases offline social support. In the present study, we proposed that the online game players’ physical and social proximity as well as their mutual familiarity influence bridging and bonding social capital. Physical proximity was predicted to positively influence bonding social capital online. Social proximity and familiarity were hypothesized to foster both online bridging and bonding social capital. Additionally, we hypothesized that both social capital dimensions are positively related to offline social support. The hypotheses were tested with regard to members of e-sports clans. In an online survey, participants (N = 811) were recruited via the online portal of the Electronic Sports League (ESL) in several countries. The data confirmed all hypotheses, with the path model exhibiting an excellent fit. The results complement existing research by showing that online gaming may result in strong social ties, if gamers engage in online activities that continue beyond the game and extend these with offline activities.
Jun 22, 2020 • 300 words • All ages
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Release Date: Jun 22, 2020
Platforms: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
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