Description: They say that in every misfortune there is a silver lining. Amidst the worst public health crisis, gaming has recorded phenomenal growth and has completely changed the way people interact. Let’s explore the new trends in gaming and how it has promoted social cohesiveness.
Talk of misfortunes and the first thing that comes into mind is the negative effects that people experience. COVID-19 is one of the misfortunes that we all want to forget, but it has a way of reminding us every day as news of new variants keeps popping out now and then. We are not sure when this will end; some are saying that we need to learn how to live with it as it is going to be with us for a long time.
Pessimistic as it may be, there might be some truth in that statement. However, despite the effects, some industries have thrived amidst all this chaos. When movement restrictions were announced and lockdowns were put, people went back into their houses. With long hours indoors, they had to look for something to keep them busy and entertained. Gaming is one of the pastime activities that were embraced by many, the young and the old alike. As other sectors reeled under the effects of COVID-19, gaming was thriving.
As bet sites in Nigeria and other parts of the world felt the effects of cancellations and postponements of national leagues, gaming was recording phenomenal growth. Just as bet site in Bangladesh started offering players some incentives to boost their presence online, everything came to a halt but one sector stood its ground and it has not stopped since then. In this article, Kate Richardson (You can view her profile here) explores gaming, looking at its social aspect and how it has thrived in a period that saw a significant drop in activities and revenues.
Online gaming is now the king, talk to almost every young person with a smartphone and they will tell you they have one game they play every day. This was not the case some years back, gaming was not a mainstream event.
With the proliferation of smartphones and the popularization of operating systems such as Android and iOS, the gaming industry has grown tremendously. COVID-19 has also played a significant role in the growth of video gaming, more so e-sports as people around the world turned to it for entertainment when everything else came to a halt as governments around the world put movement restrictions to curb the spread.
In the recent past, new trends have emerged where the environment of gaming has drastically changed. Talk of new distribution models to the way people consume games. The advancement of technology has been at the center of everything; AR and VR now dominate most of the game experience as AI becomes a part of the gaming capabilities. One interesting trend is mobile gaming becoming a social activity.
People have associated mobile phones especially gaming activities as an anti-social device. It is not unusual to see people glued to their phones even when they are out on a date. It has become a habit where family members in the same house communicate through social media platforms at the expense of one-on-one interaction. All these anti-social behavior have developed courtesy of mobile phones.
However, gaming is providing an opportunity for gamers residing in different regions to connect with other gamers. A report released recently has listed Seattle, New York, Irvine, San Diego, and Orlando as the best cities for gamers. The report used parameters such as gaming environment, quality of internet connections and its coverage as well as the gamer experience and developer opportunities. Seattle came at the top as one of the cities that have the highest population of video gamers.
These cities recorded the highest levels of interactions where gamers play with each other. The release of games such as Among Us has propelled social interactions where gamers are encouraged to work together for the purposes f completing a wide range of tasks. The message that has been passed is fun and empowering people to connect.
Other findings of recent studies on social connectivity provided by the gaming industry include:
- Forty percent of gamers say they have interacted with people in the gaming environment and also physically, where they have met individuals whom they would not have
- Half of the people who play video games say they do it after school or work while only 30% do it while on a date or waiting for an appointment
- There has been an increase in downloads of games that encourage people to interact and work together both online and offline. Among Us, one such video has seen a hundred million downloads worldwide.
- Approximately forty percent of the new gamers are into it for interactions, research shows they prefer chatting with others when playing games
- Twenty-five percent of the existing gamers say they prefer multiplayer modes to single players
All these trends show that people are not into gaming just for entertainment but also as a way to connect with others. This perhaps explains why gaming has continued to thrive during the COVID-19 period. Movements have been curtailed and people are meeting less often. Online interactions have increased, video gaming with its nature has provided the young and old alike with an opportunity to interact, and meeting people they would not if they relied on conventional means. Gaming is providing an opportunity to form new bonds where physical barriers do not hamper interactions.
This is a phenomenon that might not change any time soon. Even as the economies are opened and physical interactions increase, people will continue engaging in gaming. They will find a way to balance between the two, gaming will not be what it used to be some years back, and it will now be one of the elements that will define interactions. Technological advancement will greatly influence how people interact as new capabilities enhance engagement and also the way we consume games.