Game on: New social outlet for gamers

QUT researchers are taking their first steps toward developing a new social platform for gamers by hosting a series of in-person and online gamer events.

The project, dubbed WellPlayed, will host its next social afternoon for gamers on March 17, with players welcome from Brisbane, across Australia and even overseas.

Players can join in online or book in to play at two physical locations – the QUT eSports Arena in Brisbane on the Gardens Point campus (Australia’s first university gaming arena), or the ZEN Gaming Lounge in Melbourne.

They will be matched into squads – or can bring their own team – and vie for prizes on the day.

The event will feature two games – Ring of Elysium and Atlas Reactor – and a kick-off stream and wrap-up stream with RDiddyAU.

QUT gaming researchers Professor Daniel Johnson and Michelle Grant-Iramu, from the Science and Engineering Faculty, believe online games can become a valuable tool for fostering social connections and improving people’s wellbeing.

Prof Daniel Johnson.

“We’ve been talking to gamers for a while now about how to build an online tool for finding like-minded gamers and connecting with gamer friends,” Professor Johnson said.

“Last year, we partnered with the Movember Foundation to hold real world and online casual gaming events to encourage camaraderie. This year, we are running a series of events based on gamers’ feedback.

“Gamers who join in will also be helping us test prototype features to build the ultimate social gamers connection tool.

“We’re aiming to create a video game connection platform that is free to use and allows you to grow a squad of like-minded gamers who you want to play with – whatever the game or device.”

Ms Grant-Iramu has a background in social work and understands the importance of making connections and having a sense of belonging.

“People sometimes think of gaming as being a solitary pastime but many gamers will tell you they’ve built great friendships online,” she said.

“Anything that enables you to find like-minded people, make connections and feel supported is a positive move for your wellbeing.”

Players interested in the March 17 event can register online – either as an individual (who will then get matched into a squad) or a team. The event will run from 1.30pm to 5pm (AEST).

More events are planned for May, July, September and November.

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