Conflict, it is often assumed, is the essence of games. Modern multiplayer games, however, also rely heavily on the cooperation between players. In fact, given the rapidly increasing popularity and complexity of these games, game designers are arguably engaged in one of the most ambitious experiments with social software in recent years. This article argues that multiplayer games raise issues of the construction and maintenance of collective resources. If players do not cooperate on such issues a given game may be visited by social tension and can lose its appeal altogether. This article relates this issue to the larger issue of social order as studied by political science after which solutions to the problem are discussed.
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