Coordinating joint activity in avatar-mediated interaction
Massively multi-player online games (MMOGs) currently represent the most widely used type of social 3D virtual worlds with millions of users worldwide. Although MMOGs take face-to-face conversation as their metaphor for user-to-user interaction, avatars currently give off much less information about what users are doing than real human bodies. Consequently, users routinely encounter slippages in coordination when engaging in joint courses of action. In this study, we analyze screen-capture video of user-to-user interaction in the game, City of Heroes, under two conditions: one with the game's standard awareness cues and the other with enhanced cues. We use conversation analysis to demonstrate interactional slippages caused by the absence of awareness cues, user practices for working around such limitations and ways in which enhanced cues can enable tighter coordination.
Moore, R. J. ; Gathman, C. ; Ducheneaut, N. ; Nickell, E. Coordinating joint activity in avatar-mediated interaction. 25th Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2007); 2007 April 28-May 3; San Jose; CA. NY: ACM; 2007: 21-30.