This book explores gaming culture, focusing on competent players and excessive use. Addressing the contested question of whether addiction is possible in relation to computer games - specifically online gaming - A World of Excesses demonstrates that excessive playing does not necessarily have detrimental effects, and that there are important contextual elements that influence what consequences playing has for the players. Based on new empirical studies, including in-depth interviews and virtual ethnography, and drawing on material from international game related sites, this book examines the reasons for which gaming can occupy such a central place in people's lives, to the point of excess. As such, it will be of interest to sociologists and psychologists working in the fields of cultural and media studies, the sociology of leisure, information technology and addiction.
"Faltin Karlsen has written a book that challenges popular understandings of the practice of playing, and he offers strong, alternative viewpoints, written in an easily accessible style. The book is rich on references, and has a strong, well-developed literature list. And while it does point out that a lot of the fear of gaming is a result of prejudice and lack of familiarity with the topic, Karlsen does not fall into the trap of rejecting the idea that games can lead to problems. There is still reason to be aware of the excesses."— Torill Mortensen, IT University of Copenhagen, Cultural Sociology
Contents: Introduction; Game genre, case and empirical material; Media narratives and public concerns; Addiction and randomness; Game structure and loyalty programmes; Pathological gaming and social context; Theorycrafting: between collective intelligence and intrinsic satisfaction; Life phase and meaningful play; Appendices; References; Index.