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Do Influencers Influence? – Analyzing Players' Activity in an Online Multiplayer Game

by   Enrica Loria, et al.
University of York
Fondazione Bruno Kessler

In social and online media, influencers have traditionally been understood as highly visible individuals. Recent outcomes suggest that people are likely to mimic influencers' behavior, which can be exploited, for instance, in marketing strategies. Also in the Games User Research field, the interest in studying player social networks has emerged due to the heavy reliance on online influencers in marketing campaigns for games, as well as in keeping players engaged. Despite the inherent value of those individuals, it is still difficult to identify influencers, as the definition of influencers is a debated topic. Thus, how can we identify influencers, and are they indeed the individuals impacting others' behavior? In this work, we focus on influence in retention to verify whether central players impacted others' permanence in the game. We identified the central players in the social network built from the competitive player-vs-player (PvP) multiplayer (Crucible) matches in the online shooter Destiny. Then, we computed influence scores for each player evaluating the increase in similarity over time between two connected individuals. In this paper, we were able to show the first indications that the traditional metrics for influencers do not necessarily apply for games. On the contrary, we found that the group of central players was distinct from the group of influential players, defined as the individuals with the highest influence scores. Then, we provide an analysis of the two groups.


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