Comparing the Structures and Characteristics of Different Game Social Networks - The Steam Case

Enrica Loria, Alessia Antelmi, Johanna Pirker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


In most games, social connections are an essential part of the gaming experience. Players connect in communities inside or around games and form friendships, which can be translated into other games or even in the real world. Recent research has investigated social phenomena within the player social network of several multiplayer games, yet we still know very little about how these networks are shaped and formed. Specifically, we are unaware of how the game type and its mechanics are related to its community structure and how those structures vary in different games. This paper presents an initial analysis of Steam users and how friendships on Steam are formed around 200 games. We examine the friendship graphs of these 200 games by dividing them into clusters to compare their network properties and their specific characteristics (e.g., genre, game elements, and mechanics). We found how the Steam user-defined tags better characterized the clusters than the game genre, suggesting that how players perceive and use the game also reflects how they connect in the community. Moreover, team-based games are associated with more cohesive and clustered networks than games with a stronger single-player focus, supporting the idea that playing together in teams more likely produces social capital (i.e., Steam friendships).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2021 IEEE Conference on Games, CoG 2021
PublisherIEEE Publications
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781665438865
ISBN (Print)978-1-6654-4608-2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2021
Event2021 IEEE Conference on Games: CoG 2021 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 17 Aug 202120 Aug 2021

Publication series

NameIEEE Conference on Computatonal Intelligence and Games, CIG
ISSN (Print)2325-4270
ISSN (Electronic)2325-4289


Conference2021 IEEE Conference on Games


  • Social networking (online)
  • Shape
  • Conferences
  • Games
  • Social Network Analysis
  • Steam
  • Player Network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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