Save the date: Symposium Social VR & Gaming

June 15, 2023 | 10:00 – 12:00 MESZ | online

Presentation & discussion of two new studies by the Immersive Democracy Project.

Keynote 1: VR Gaming between Democracy Promotion and Right-Wing Extremism: Threats and Potentials for Digital Civil Society

Mick Prinz (Project Manager Good Gaming – Well Played Democracy)

Creating immersive worlds and enabling social interactions between users has long been an integral part of digital gaming worlds. The far right also uses the possibilities provided by video game spaces to network in various places in gaming, to build groups, and to disseminate inhumane content. Platforms such as Roblox, Minecraft, and GTA Online are particularly susceptible to far-right meta-politics. Development and design of virtual realities and the Metaverse must draw on these experiences and think along the threats, but also the opportunities from the gaming world.

Keynote 2: Worldbuilding in Social VR:Political implications of avatar and space design in VRChat, Rec Room and others.

Arne Vogelgesang (Association for the Study of Social Composition).

Given that many social VR platforms tend to rely heavily on usergenerated content, decisions about the possibilities and limits of influencing the “look and feel” of virtual social spaces are not just technical issues, but important factors in the formation of the political culture of such spaces: decisions about the possibilities of aesthetic participation are also decisions about governance. However, while user safety and protection from digitized violence are recognized as important aspects of shaping inclusive social spaces in VR, the role of their aesthetics in relation to this is less clear to assess. This talk exemplarily outlines the feature sets of some social VR platforms in terms of how they enable, encourage, and control aesthetic co-creation by users and speculates on the influences of different models of content production on the emergence of communities in social VR.

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