Hardcore Classification: Identifying Play Styles in Social Games Using Network Analysis


In the social network of a web-based online game, all players are not equal. Through network analysis, we show that the community of players in a online social game is an example of a scale free small world network and that the growth of the player-base obeys a power law.

The community is centred around a minority group of “hardcore” players who define the social environment for the game, and without whom the social network would collapse. Methods are discussed for identifying this critically important subset of players automatically through analysing social behaviours within the game.