Video games have been around for a pretty long time and the advancements in technology have led to immense growth in the gaming industry. Perhaps the greatest development would be the introduction of online games and the ability to dive in the virtual world interacting with people from all over the globe from the comfort of your chair. Just as many began to see gaming as a new addiction in children and adults alike circumstances have forced even these people to change their perception and look at gaming as a benefactor. The beginning of this year brought the entire world in a dire state with the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and forced most of the countries to impose lockdown and force citizens to stay indoors for their protection. With all forms of outside activity prohibited what could the people do? Gaming.
Steam reported to have reached almost 20 million concurrent players and games like GTA 5, Fortnite, and Rainbow Six Siege have also seen an influx of new players ready to entertain themselves. However if we dwell deeper in the world of modern day gaming it is not only a source of recreation but a way of keeping connected in the lockdown.
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The availability of internet throughout the world has made multiplayer games a part of life during these days. They allow the people to not only play with their friends from home but provide the opportunity to play with people from other countries all over the globe allowing them to experience new cultures. Thus, saying that gaming allows people to stay connected is a major understatement as it is also leading to the interaction with new people and enlarging our social circle. The availability of free games like Fortnite and the newly launched Call of Duty Battle Royale game “Warzone” means that even people with limited resources have the chance to jump onboard if they have a console or a computer.
Both computers and consoles have the added feature of Parties. Players can be invited to these parties and once they join they can communicate with other members of the party. They were originally made to allow players to make callouts to their teammates during a match but in these troubled times provide the much needed social interaction. People who do play games will surely know the flexibility of these parties and how they are used for discussions while the games load. Other players often join the party just for the sake of talking to people other than their family. The picture above is a PlayStation 4 party consisting of 4 friends playing together.
How gaming is connecting people, also requires us to look at the interactions that take place at online game related forums. There are thousand if not millions of gaming pages and groups online that allow the gamers to come together to discuss updates, criticize the games they play or simply search for new players that play the same game. These pages often also become the destination of jokes and memes on the games bringing the community together while simultaneously creating a lightheaded atmosphere and taking the minds of the tension that they are facing in the wake of an apocalyptic pandemic. You can review famous gaming forums here.
While no other sports can be played under the current circumstances Esports industry continues to thrive. Professional players continue to play the matches from their homes giving fans the content they want and the ability to continue supporting their team through thick and thin. Even in Asian countries where Esports is not very popular some individuals have seen the lockdown as an opportunity to launch their own E-Tournament. These tournaments often have a big audience that includes players of the game tired after a long day of gaming. Viewers learn new strategies from the game play and also indulge in conversations with their friends through the comments section.
E-Sports is currently serving a great cause but what most people may be overlooking is that it is a time where the esports industry could flourish beyond our expectations. With major tournaments like the Olympics 2020 and Euro 2020 postponed till the next year being accompanied by all major leagues there is potential for immense growth in the esports industry. Unlike traditional sports, esports are the only form of tournaments that can continue indefinitely because all they require is a professional player at home with an internet connection. The tournament streams will find new members who have no other sports available at hand under the current situation. Furthermore most of the audience of these tournaments used to be online even before Covid-19 pandemic. The League of Legends tournament last year had 40000 people in the arena with 100 million online viewers. This shows that esports are not only minimally affected but have potential to thrive due to the outbreak.
Mobile Gaming has always been faced with the dilemma of not being actual gaming with both PC gamers and console gamers putting aside their differences to troll the mobile gamers but it cannot be denied. Games like PUBG mobile have a much larger player base than many PC and console gamers. Furthermore a Smartphone is the piece of technology that almost everyone has today even if they do not have a PC or a console so it is impossible to ignore Mobile Gaming when talking about gaming in general. Multiplayer games like PUBG and Ludo Star (famous among Asian countries) bring friends together at a certain time where they communicate and simply hold on to people who seem to be drifting away due to an imposed lockdown.
Most people would say that during this pandemic not only gamers have become closer to one another but the gaming companies have also been paying special heed to their player base. Although the pandemic has restricted the launch of new content the companies have ensured that the games run smoothly without glitches and bugs and also continue to accommodate newer players. Furthermore to keep the players at home games are launching free content that can be achieved through completion of missions. A very bold move was made by Sony when they declared that The Uncharted Collection was to be made free for all people in possession of a PlayStation 4. In short, there is increased sense of harmony between gaming companies and the players where in the past players usually hated the companies and constantly went on social platforms asking for improvements in the game.
World health organization
Gamers all over the world are now celebrating the WHO’s newfound approach on gaming. While being rather skeptical about gaming due to its detrimental health effects the Covid-19 pandemic has forced them to change this point of view. They are now actually advising people to stay home and play video games as an attempt to cope with social isolation. Joining hands with 18 of the world’s leaders in the gaming industry WHO launched the #PlayApartTogether campaign. The leaders of the gaming companies part of this initiative believe that gaming is the perfect platform to connect people. This initiative will lead to a huge inflow of new players and while the companies benefit from the increased player base the people will not only be protected but also remain connected to one another.
Gamers all over the world are linked to one another in this fashion. This family is continuing to grow everyday as more players join the gaming community which will allow these people to get to know new people and stay connected at a time where meeting one another physically is illegal and there is only so much you can talk about on call with friends who are not very close.