Massive Online Multiplayer Gaming in China (A Participant Observation Study): An Overlooked Forum for Political Discussion?
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Over last summer I traveled to Beijing, China to do a participant observation research project on Beijing?s internet cafes. My project was a two-tiered process whereby my initial research examined internet gaming culture by directly participating in it. This included being an internet caf? patron and immersing myself in the culture, learning what it took to be an avid internet caf? customer in Beijing. In doing so I identified key subjects willing to answer questions about internet gaming and political activity online. The second part was more formal than the first as I conducted interviews and recorded most of them using a voice recorder.The project confirmed the presence of some political discussions in a forum traditionally overlooked by civil society researchers. The most important conclusion I made was that there exists a vast infrastructure that could be used for political activity within online gaming but it is not primarilyutilized by Chinese gamers for political purposes.