University of Oulu

A micro-analytic investigation of gaming interactions : displays of understanding in Overwatch

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Author: Polat, Alper1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.5 MB)
Pages: 64
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : A. Polat, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-08-20
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Mänty, Kristiina
Helisten, Marika
Avgustis, Iuliia
Reviewer: Isohätälä, Jaana
Mänty, Kristiina


This thesis examines the gaming interactions of players in Overwatch, a multiplayer, fast-paced, first-person shooter video game. The data contains players’ practice matches against other teams to improve their team synergy, and to try out new additions to their roster. Two hours of their video-recorded, naturally-occuring gaming interactions in English are analyzed using Conversation Analysis to uncover insights on how players achieve intersubjectivity (i.e. mutual understanding). As this phenomenon has not been subject to research in gaming contexts yet, the analytical focus is on displays of understanding in second turn (i.e. a turn that is addressed to its prior turn) during both talk and action sequences. Four types of displays of understanding are identified and discussed in detail: non-understanding, verbal display, embodied display, as well as embodied and verbal display. The study also discusses players’ engagement in presequential planning actions, their use of in-game jargon and shorthand expressions. The findings contribute to the growing body of research on gaming interactions, and to intersubjectivity research within social interaction. The analyses bring evidence to players attaining more in-game success when mutual understanding is achieved, and players being more prone to in-game failures when it is not. Furthermore, discussions regarding players’ speaker selection and repair practises to overcome interactional troubles are made.

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Copyright information: © Alper Polat, 2020. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.