Edinburgh Napier University has joined forces with GamesAnalytics, a monetisation specialist, to study Social Network Analysis.
“By using Social Network Analysis we can map virtual social networks and rank players in terms of their social influence," explained Mark Robinson, COO of GamesAnalytics.
"Building positive interactions between players, especially highly influential players, results in a dramatically positive effect on the success of an online game."
The method has been around since the 1930s, but the project will apply it to online communities like Facebook, and online games.
“To our knowledge, Social Network Analysis has rarely been used to understand virtual, rather than real world, social interaction," agreed Robert Raeside, Professor in Applied Statistics at the university.
"This is a very important development – as more and more interaction takes place online it is crucial to understand how this differs from interaction in the real world. This has ramifications beyond the gaming world and will be important in understanding the impact of virtual interaction in all areas of society.”
The Social Network Analysis is supported by the Scottish Funding Council.