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In game we trust? Coplay and generalized trust in and beyond a Chinese MMOG world

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Although an emerging literature has demonstrated social and civic potentials of massively multiplayer online games, few studies have assessed their implications for generalized trust. Drawing on a large sample of Chevaliers’ Romance III (CR3) players, this research examines how gamers’ motivational, behavioral, and relational factors are related to generalized trust in China. Adopting a coplaying-centered approach, results show that generalized trust is enabled and constrained by teammate preference, coplay patterns, and motivations. Competence preference in teammates, having more weak-tie confidants as coplayers, and competition motivation are positively, while homophily preference in teammates, having more strong-tie confidants as coplayers, and socializing motivation are negatively associated with generalized trust. This research highlights the importance of contextualizing gaming implications in specific social and institutional contexts.
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Keywords: China; Generalized trust; core discussion network; homophily; massively multiplayer online games (MMOGS)

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Radio-TV-Film, Moody College of Communication, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA 2: Department of Communication, University of California, Davis, CA, USA

Publication date: May 3, 2016

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