Persona in MMO Games: Constructing an identity through complex player/character relationships

Oskar Milik


Studies of online interaction involving identity can be divided into two distinct categories. On the one hand, there is the study of the players, which often asks questions of a psychological or economic nature. On the other hand, there is the study of characters, which looks at issues of language or culture, and critical theory topics such as gender, class, and race online. While these two approaches have created a field of digital games research that provides many valuable resources and research projects, the separation between these topics is also limiting due to the complex and intertwined nature of online and offline interaction in the modern age. This paper presents a new definition of persona as an additional methodological concept that can be used to observe interaction in the online world, particularly as it applies to the presentation of an identity to others. This construct serves as a joint identity of character and player, combining these otherwise separate topics to allow for a greater depth of understanding of the actions and reasoning behind the characters and players of digital games. It is also applicable to other online contexts, such as social networking, livestreaming, and forum use.


Identity; Online Interaction; Methodology; Qualitative Research; Digital Games

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