The sense of immersion in role-play and computer games is sometimes viewed as dangerous, as players' strong perceptions of fictional worlds are assumed to make them lose contact with reality. On the other hand, players' immersion also implies a potential for improved learning, since it enables them to 'experience' new places and historical eras. Yet a new study from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that immersion in online role-play games requires a lot of hard work.
Gaming researcher Jonas Linderoth, at the Department of Education, Communication and Learning, University of Gothenburg, followed a group of players in the world's largest online role-play game World of Warcraft for a period of ten months. He observed the players almost daily in their fictional online lives and also filmed and interviewed them.