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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Community Management Summit: The Draw of Social Structures in Online Games during a Pandemic

Mars Ashton  (Director & Assistant Professor of Game Design, Lawrence Technological University)

Date: Monday, July 19

Time: 2:00pm - 2:30pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass

Topic: Business & Marketing

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I would like to deliver a virtual presentation only

With the isolation of the pandemic and the trends in declining mental health, games have become a place for players to meet their psychological needs more than ever. Through a look at online communities in games like Final Fantasy XIV, Guild Wars, and World of Warcraft, Mars Ashton will reveal the ways in which the social structures in online games can promote mental health.


Attendees will be informed of several statistics related to mental health and explore the role socialization and community plays in maintaining/improving one's well-being. By examining community-building tools and emergent social dynamics, attendees will learn about the way many games can meet or disrupt a player's psychological needs.

Intended Audience

Community Managers, Game Designers, Narrative Designers.