The Business & Social Network
When dealing with the subject of avatars, we can think of identity in at least two ways: there is the non-virtual form of identity, in which the player thinks of him or herself in the traditional sense of self. That is, "I am me." This concept of identity predates any thoughts of the modern avatar, and is not at all technology dependent. Then there is the virtual identity, perhaps most commonly thought of the identity of a player-character within a game environment (also more broadly thought of the identity an individual has built for him or herself through all manner of computer interaction: through social media, online communications, interactions through online courses, and so on. My blog entries have helped me shape my virtual identity in the education space, for example). For the context of this discussion, we want to examine virtual identity as that which facilitates the player-avatar relationship.
In addition to virtual identity and non-virtual identity, Zachary Waggoner identifies a third type of identity—projective identity—which he frames as the transitional state between virtual and non-virtual identities.