Spending social time with friends and family can be rewarding, recharging, relaxing. Whether it’s a picnic in the park, an evening at the cinema, a drink in the pub or a game of football at the local playing fields, getting together is all about interacting and sharing things. But as the world of online connectivity continues to become the new meeting marketplace, has technology triumphed in changing the way we play, altering our social interaction patterns in the process?
When it comes to online gaming, the internet is awash with options, most if not all of which now include live chats with fellow players. With this comes the previously unavailable chance to connect, albeit virtually, with people of all occupations, from all over the world. From being with someone for a series of Bovada games to playing alongside them on a Call of Duty battlefield, the online camaraderie may be remote, but for many it is real.
Do the worldwide phenomena of online gaming translate to a new way of socialising or is this platform, this virtual playground merely another, more open choice that can complement your existing social circle activities? Again, it depends on who you ask, but it’s certainly worth posing the question. One thing we do know, online gaming continues to grow exponentially, its popularity increasing and with a worldwide audience and customer base, it is something not to be dismissed.
Gaming Versus Going Out: Replacing, Replicating, or Reconnecting?
For some, the ability to gamble, play, interact, make friends with people online stands for the chance to widen the social sphere and create genuine connections. For others, however, it has become a more insular experience, keeping people inside as they spend hour upon hour gaming, whatever their game of choice may be.
According to recent research detailing global online trends, there is a growing tendency to look at the tangible difference between gaming and so-called entertainment, and whether these two terms are interchangeable, compatible, or perhaps even contradictory. What is hard to deny, is that gaming has enriched the lives of many, and created a genuine community that has morphed into something more than people sat at home talking through headphones or in small on-screen chats.
Before the dawn of online gaming, or even online dating which is similarly ubiquitous as a form of social interaction now, going out was how we met people, new and old, friends and family, colleagues, and companions. Rather than replacing this, however, online gaming has perhaps made interaction more accessible as well as more global. Though they may have started as online friends, people around the world now meet up with their virtual friends, forging genuine, in-person, and oft long-lasting relationships.
The fact that these started online seems both irrelevant and perhaps incidental. In fact, statistics seem to show that more and more romantic relationships start via online forums, as more real-world conventions continue to arise based on, and attended by those who met and converse online in the first instance. With all this in mind, it becomes easier to assert, with a certain amount of confidence, that technology continues to triumph in terms of affecting the way we socialise, meet, and interact with each, certainly within the younger demographic that populates the online gaming sphere.
How Being Online Can Build Burgeoning Friendships and Create Global Game Communities
We are all aware that gaming can be addictive, as can many things. With that said, for the vast majority of those who love this pastime, it offers a chance to both connect and enjoy entertainment with like-minded people, often far from your physical location but with you online. This virtual world of fantastic games, from casinos to racing, football to golf, fantasy worlds to new town building and more, has come a long way from the days of solitary Pac-man, frogger and paper carrier, as has the way people interact.
Global gaming communities, conferences based on game franchises, conventions that celebrate all things online, and even global get togethers in real world casinos by online gaming aficionados and professionals, all now regular events on the calendar. Gaming has now grown and the online groups have now become real communities, offering genuine entertainment options, with events that can rival established gatherings such as Comic-Con.
From New York to London, Tokyo to Toronto, Sydney to San Diego and beyond, it’s not only the game creators and companies that are now meeting, but also the players, those who have become friends and created their own global fraternity. Dispelling the ideas that gaming is not social, these events are not just global success stories on a corporate, game developer level, they are a narrative about the real world as much as the online realm.
So, far from being the insular world, with stereotypes of lonely people sitting in basements, obsessed with gaming and somehow detached from the outside world, the triumph of technology is clear: It has created friendships, global communities, connections that may never have had the chance to exist and grow and, as well as all that, it is a business model that continues to thrive.