Friendly Fire Off

Does Cooperative Gaming in a Competitive Setting Lead to Prosocial Behaviour?

  • Tamara Verheij Communication Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Radboud University
  • Daniëlle N. M. Bleize Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • Christine L. Cook Department of Informatics, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, USA


The increasing popularity of online videogames has raised questions concerning their potential to influence online and offline social behaviour. Previous research on social behaviour in relation to playing videogames has often focused on either cooperation (playing in pairs against the game) or competition (playing alone against other players); however, videogames, particularly multiplayer online games, often include both. This study investigates prosocial behaviour in videogames with both cooperative and competitive elements—team-based player versus player (PvP) games—and aims to examine whether the amount of time spent playing these games is related to in-game prosocial behaviour. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 727 respondents and results were analysed using conditional process modelling. No significant direct or indirect relationship between the amount of time spent playing team-based PvP games and in-game prosocial behaviour was found. However, an exploratory linear regression analysis revealed a significant, positive relationship between in-game and offline prosocial behaviour. Implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.

June 9, 2020