What community did you choose and how can be found on-line?
I chose the Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 Online Community for Playstation 3. To access to this community you a Playstation 3 game system and create a Playstation Network account, the game Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 and a broadband Internet connection. Once you are in the game you create a personal profile with your personal information, game preferences, a profile image (avatar) and additional information as, favorite teams, favorite players, and language. This profile works for playing offline and in the online community. After you created your profile, you go to the online mode and you have to select a server to play in it. In the main room named Match Lobby is where all the users are connected have the opportunity to chat and to play soccer matches. There are inner communities that you can join by invitation or by request. You are free to choose various communities and there is no restrictions to join or leave one of your communities that are member.
What are some key characteristics of its participants? What are their interests? Is there a “group identity” or “social glue” holding together the participants?
The community members are gathered by the same interest of soccer and the main topics in the Lobby are related to soccer events, it is common to see users arguing about what team is better by mentioning the number of championships won. The more notorious differences between users are their nationality, Brazilians users are more closed and they are supported by the Brazilian figures and as the maximum winners of the FIFA World Cup. The second difference referring to the ranking score, Good players tend to group with players with the same characteristics as well, they compete between them and that is how they practice and prepare for the online tournaments. Also there are motivations that help users to practice, in the online menu, there are spaces reserved for the tournaments champions, and all users can see who is the best. External factors are prizes from Konami and PESClub.es that organize physical tournaments in some designated cities.
In the context of the community, how does one express individuality?
The way to express individuality is by the profile information where you mention your nationality, favorite team and favorite player. There is another way to express your personality by creating a match room where you customize the conditions as: Friendly or Rankin Match, Length of the game, weather conditions, and the criteria to accept your opponents. You can limit the access to your room by protecting it by password. During the game there are opportunities to chat with your opponent and this is very important because some players do not want to chat or are rude to others. If you have the chance to chat with other users and feel comfortable is more likely to invite him to a private community or a match room. The ranking score and the broadband Internet connection differentiate you from other players and it is like a “socioeconomic” status because many of the users choose to play against others by the Internet speed to have a desirable game development.
In what ways is this community similar to or different from traditional communities?
I found that the PES 2012 online community is similar to a soccer fans or players in the offline community because when you go out with friends to a park or a soccer field to play, the regular players tend to wear famous soccer players equipment as, jerseys, shoes and other accessories. Also they might try tricks of certain players. The competition between teams follow the same patter because in the soccer field you will find best players and teams, but also beginners or people that play soccer just to have fun. There is a big attachment between the members of a team because you know the skills of your teammates and it helps to fell you more confident. If there is a mix of players in the park there is a chance to invite him for future events and to continue some kind of friendship. The usual topics in the offline and online soccer community are similar as well, because they tend to comment about past or incoming events and famous players.