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Our Research Group at "The International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games"

On 8-10 of August, an international conference on game research and development called The International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG) was held in Malmo, Sweden. A student of the Higher School of Economics, Roman Poyane, and a participant of the RG “Machine Learning and Social Computing” Denis Bulygin presented their works about chat communication on game-streaming websites at the workshop “All the World (Wide Web)'s A Stage: A Twitch Workshop”, organized as part of the conference.

Denis Bulygin, a student of the Human-Computer Interaction master program (Uppsala University), a participant of the RG “Machine learning and social computing” and a bachelor’s degree “Sociology and Social Informatics” about the conference:

“Despite the active growth of the direction, very little attention is paid to the quantitative analysis of communication on streams. Roman and I presented studies how the audience communicates in the two most popular types of streams: during broadcasts of eSports tournaments and on personal streamers’ channels. Those two types of streams are completely different: they can gather a different audience, and also viewers interact with the stream and with each other differently.

We have already presented the preliminary results of the research on communication during eSports streams at another conference, where we talked about the connection of game events and communication in chat. On FDG we summarized these findings, and also talked about how the communication in chat varies depending on the stage of the tournament and the number of viewers in it. For example, we found that as the number of people grows, the chat becomes more emotional and less focused on specific topics. This finding was previously just a common belief based on ethnographic studies.

Roman spoke with his topic for the first time and talked about his study of toxic communication in the chat rooms of streamers. The topic of toxicity on the Internet, especially cyberbullying and trolling, is now actively developing and such research is important for our field, as streamers often put themselves in a very vulnerable position towards viewers. Roman found that there is more toxicity in chat on large streams, and also that in females streamers’ chat rooms, compared with males, communication is more likely to be positive. The audience was interested in our presentations, asked questions and suggested new ideas on where to go next.

After the presentations at the workshop, a roundtable was organized where we discussed the future of streaming research and opportunities for cooperation between the participants of the workshop. I believe that the meeting turned out to be very important since the workshop brought together people with diverse skills and research interests. The opportunity to discuss our works in such space opens up a new look at the work being done”.