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#StayHome Playing LoL – Analyzing Players' Activity and Social Bonds in League of Legends During Covid-19 Lockdowns

by   Simone Petrosino, et al.

Humans are social beings. It is therefore not surprising that the social distancing and movement restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic had severe consequences for the well-being of large sections of the population, leading to increased loneliness and related mental diseases. Many people found emotional shelter in online multiplayer games, which have already proven to be great social incubators. While the positive effect games had on individuals has become evident, we are still unaware of how and if games fostered the fundamental need for connectedness that people sought. In other words: how have the social bonds and interaction patterns of players changed with the advent of the pandemic? For this purpose, we analyzed one year of data from an online multiplayer game (League of Legends) to observe the impact of Covid-19 on player assiduity and sociality in three different geographical regions (i.e., Europe, North America, and South Korea). Our results show a strong relationship between the development of Covid-19 restrictions and player activity, together with more robust and recurrent social bonds, especially for players committed to the game. Additionally, players with reinforced social bonds-i.e., people played with similar teammates-were more likely to stay in the game even once the restrictions were lifted.


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