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Abstract

This article examines the co-evolution of players’ individual performance and their interaction network in a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG). The objective is to test whether the application of theories from the real world is valid in virtual worlds. While the results indicate that the structural effects and demographic variables active in the real world influence the evolution of the players’ interaction network in MMOGs (e.g. transitivity, reciprocity, and homophily), they do not provide evidence that players’ structural embeddedness in the interaction network influences player performance. These findings have important implications for researchers and practitioners who need to understand social processes in MMOGs (e.g., when launching marketing campaigns in MMOGs) or who study MMOGs and then use their findings to draw conclusions about the real world (e.g., when analyzing the relationship between employee performance and network structure).

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