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Gaming as a social lifeline

Video gaming has not been mere leisure for its fans, it is rather a wholesome community where mutual connection and understanding depicts the basic foundation of this relationship.

With the ongoing pandemic that led people enclose to themselves and go quarantine mode, many feel trapped in a room not knowing where their future is heading.

However, gamers on the other side of the spectrum, have got an advantage since binge playing in front of a TV or a computer screen has been a cakewalk. Some might consider this as a form of isolation that promotes disjoint from social life.

Nevertheless, that has never been the case, and in many cases, far from it…

 

With the high increase in social media usage and the emergence of new platforms, gamers have mastered the art of community building together. For these enthusiasts video games exeed Internet competition, it forges genuine human to human friendship based on commonalities between parties.

The boom of the gaming industry during quarantine has revealed to many people that games actually bring relief and represent an instrument that provides a real bond between individuals. Records have shown that video gaming has skyrocketed during the Coronavirus Pandemic, in particular games that get you connected to the Internet and let you interact with strangers or include video chat to replace person-to-person communication.

Games like Among Us and Animal Crossing for instance, have gained record-breaking download numbers.

This has availed tremendously gaming companies, whereby their profit interest spiralled. In a survey undertaken by NPD (an American Business firm) 4 out of 5 Americans played video games during the pandemic. While some businesses suffered after the outbreak of the Covid-19 and went through some deep water, the Game Industry explosively boomed; an escalation of 57% in sales this year (about $848bn).

Although this concept of online socialization through gaming is fairly new to many, video game enthusiasts use it as an outlet to forge friendships and create a bond to connect with others.
Nottingham Trent University professor Mark Griffiths has confirmed the aforementioned in his study where he published some research regarding Gaming friendships during the pandemic.

In a 2003 study, Mark indicated that about 11,000 of RPG players claim that their favourite part of video games is the interaction between individuals. Opposite to popular belief that video games invigorate violent behavior and promote isolation from social life, this has been proven otherwise.

In a 2007 study, Mark shows that over 900 MMO players from 45 different countries spent approximately 22hours worth of gameplay, reaching a conclusion that such types of games are “highly socially interactive”. He goes on saying that some of these interactions between players resulted in romantic connections. Socializing in a game has never been a new thing, he asserts.

A concrete example to authenticate this is through Animal Crossing; players are given the option to visit each-other’s towns, through the shared village code. This leaves the window open for gamers to interact with each other.

During the pandemic, many people including non-gamers, have realized that games are much more than what they think it was! It brings individuals closer to each. Otherwise, Even people who have never played video games their entire life, there are plenty of games for everyone no matter their skills, wordscapes in multiplayer mode proved to be one of these games in 2020.

As the ongoing social distancing and confinement continues, so does gaming which became an astonishing lifeline for many. A Google survey confirms a percentage of 40 new players reporting that they still play even after being allowed to socialize in person.

It is very crucial to fight off misleading information surrounding the Gaming world and the supposed “dangers” it promotes. Rather than outlining what bad it can do, shifting the scope to its actual benefits will do greater good, especially during difficult times like these.