Hello, Prom fam. Have you ever heard of the «life imitates art» concept? It fits gaming more than anything else: apart from gameplay, community, quests, and plots, our individualities are highly influenced by digital avatars. The idea sounds wild but true, don’t you agree? Let’s figure out how it works!
How Does It Work?
Sociologists worldwide agree that digital avatars are more than a way of our online representation that we craft ourselves. Now they change our behavior, appearance, and lifestyles. All this is described as the Proteus Effect, named after the god who could transform himself.
The concept was introduced in 2007 by Yee & Bailenson. According to them, “users of a virtual environment adapt their behavior to the characteristics of their respective avatars”. For instance, in video games, a user who creates an avatar with some warrior, such as a Viking, is more prone to acquire typical features of this archetype, including courage and self-reliance while playing.
Meanwhile, the new qualities will affect the gamer in real life, bringing multiple modifications. Let’s point out all of them.
In many games, avatars evolve, improving their skills and changing skins. As a result, players achieve something, feel empowered to glow up, upgrade in various fields, and explore new activities in real life.
This tendency is especially applicable to P2P gaming, where players earn by making the most of their hobby and, consequently, become more self-confident.
Digital avatars increase our self-love. They enhance our well-being and help us to accept ourselves. Firstly, though game characters tend to be initially strong, they don’t start as somebody flawless. It is in our power to make them DOPE.
Secondly, they meet our subconscious needs. Our digital representation may differ from our actual appearance. For instance, a conventional man that translates his masculinity daily in real life due to social norms, work, or something else, can get in touch with his feminine side by playing a woman character.
Thirdly, avatars reduce our stress by letting us become somebody else’s or change digitally for a while. Iykyk: one can’t escape from themselves, but still can have some rest.
Fourthly, while playing RPGs or dwelling metaverses as avatars, gamers can experiment with multiple activities that make their realistic and unrealistic dreams come true. For instance, they can fly or visit concerts a person can’t attend in real life and get emotional satisfaction.
Digital avatars help people to experience realistic communication despite geographical borders and boost their empathy, encouraging them to become more open-minded and friendly in real life. They even teach people to make a positive impression: the research proves that people regard avatars that virtually stand closer to them and reveal more personal details as more attractive ones.
When we design our digital selves, we can literally recreate our personalities by experimenting with appearances, trying on any characteristics and styles, and behaving in new ways uncommon for our daily images. Probably, we can express ourselves, including features and qualities our «real» personalities don’t have. As a result, we feel free, boost our imagination, and eliminate inner limitations.
Avatars vary in shape and size, but, as a rule, they tend to be fit and physically strong. Skeptics say that such characteristics can lead to dysmorphia among youngsters. However, considering the motivational aspect and how we build connections with them, avatars can help users start exercising and get into a healthy lifestyle.
Avatars are powerful in terms of shaping and reshaping our personalities. Thus, while choosing or creating our digital selves, we should consider their potential. Stay tuned to learn more about what they can bring to GameFi!
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