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Welcome! I am teaching law at St. Petersburg State University and engaged in legal practice with the international law firm Dentons. Major part of my research is connected to virtual worlds and massive multiplayer online games (a broad field which includes Internet law, video game law, virtual law and game studies). My legal practice is focused on providing support to computer game companies. This interest derives from my passion for computer games which I consider as one of the most important cultural artifacts ever created. Please note that this blog conveys my private opinion which is not necessarily shared by any organisations I am associated with. For more formal and detailed introduction please visit my website arkhipov.info which serves more as a 'business card'.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: Video Game-Based Methodology For Business Research

To continue with structuring of the material, I include a new headline keyword 'Review' for posts related to short summaries and links to mostly academic articles which I read in course of my research.

I would like to begin with the article 'Video Game-Based Methodology for Business Research' by Larry L. Lawson (professor of finance in the Steven L. Craig School of Business at Missouri Western State University) and Catherine L. Lawson (professor of economics at Missouri Western State University) originally published in Simulation Gaming 2010, vol. 41, PP. 360-373.

I accessed my copy at SAGE Journals repository, but most likely it requires some form of authorisation or subscription my University probably has.

The authors suggest to use video games as a "third way" to conduct experiments in behavioral studies, in addition to field experiment and laboratory research.

The context is crucial to understanding behavioral patterns. In real life people make decisions with consideration of consequences which most of the time hardly can be predicted in terms of cause and effect, rather weighed by probability and separated as desirable and not desirable.

Both probability and desirability are determined by context, hence it should be an important part of an experiment in this field. The gist of the article is that while field experiment has too much uncontrolled context and laboratory research has too little context at all, a virtual environment can provide more or less precise degree of context controlled by a researched.

Besides apparent advantages of virtual environments accessed via Internet (such as possibility to host many people from different real-world locations at once etc.) the authors claim that it is a cost effective colution. The idea is to use mods. It was a surprise for me to know that there has already been a relevant project arranged by the U.S. Department of Defense where a contracting party developed special mod for Neverwinter Nights to conduct experiments and study behavior of preacekeeping teams.

The authors themselves developed a mod for Neverwinter Nights to perform experiments related to measurement of risk aversion behavioral studies. Having started with the same pre-conditions as with preceding laboratory research, they got similar results and concluded that such an approach is quite promising.

Not to mention a fresh idea to use mods for experiments and curious fact about U.S. Department of Defense projects, the authors appear to do a step forward in discussion of virtual environments as experimental places and pose a question of preferecne for this casue between virtual worlds and video games, provided that the latter allow more control and customization.