Social exchange is in the game: Communication and resource flow in a Xbox gaming clan

William T. Howe, Sun Kyong Lee


This study examined the international social network of a bounded Battlefield 4 gaming clan considering social exchange theory. We found that more central members of the clan contributed more time and money to the clan than others. In addition, central members of this clan revived other members in-game more often. This study extends social exchange theory from face-to-face interaction to the virtual world, by showing communicative factors that influence online gaming networks, and to game studies by offering results applicable to online gaming clans. This study also shows how gamers engage in various social exchanges and earn central positions within the network in return for their investment of time, money, and communication.


Video Games; Social Network Analysis; Social Exchange; Virtual Networks; XBOX

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