Social Butterflies: New Kind of Influencers – Alessandro Canossa & Sasha Makarovych, Massive

The game industry is experiencing a paradigm shift that sees games as services. This shift entails a different way to understand player behavior: the communities of players become fundamental elements for a game’s extended lifetime. To understand such communities, we explored players of Tom Clancy’s The Division using tools from social network analysis.

We identified the players most central to the network. To validate that these players have a concrete impact on the community, we analyzed game behavior and discovered that these players are the invisible backbone of this game community. They are not as noticeable as traditional influencers such as YouTubers, Twitch streamers and game bloggers, but are essential to the health and livelihood of a game’s community.

Key Takeaways

  • Utilize prestige and centrality measures to identify key social players
  • Correlate in-game behavior with social dynamics to predict potential influencers
  • Strategize how to leverage the new kind of influencers

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