5 Reasons Why Gamers Are More Social Than You Think
Once upon a time a gamer was that “stereotypical, petulant and portly adult playing a viscerally violent game in his parents’ basement” according to Latitude. That was the image most people conjured up when they heard the word “gamer.” Such a stereotype that has completely been shattered thanks to the likes of smartphones, tablets, and TVs with video games that target all demographics. Today a single mother does yoga via the Wii Balance Board at home. Fathers play football, Madden style, with their sons, as sorority girls use video game consoles for karaoke night. Gaming has gone from a loner’s sport to a socially connecting activity that crosses genders, ages and social classes. Still not convinced that gaming has gone social?
Social Media Monsters
Gamers aren’t hiding in basements anymore, seemingly afraid of social activity—far from it. Video game players are, actually, more likely to connect on social media than people who are not gaming. A study by Mocospace finds that 84 percent of those surveyed are using social media, aka Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest, a minimum of several times a week. One consideration is that individuals who love to play video games are more tech savvy. They understand the workings of technology and enjoy testing its limits and capabilities on a frequent basis. Plus, many video game consoles, such as Wii and PS4, now feature a social connectivity capacity that allows gamers to connect via social media whether they are playing on the soccer field or battle field.
Easy Peasy Games
While role playing games, RPGs, are at the top of many old school gamers’ list of formats they prefer, today there is a reemergence of mindless games that are so simple a four-year-old can play them. Think Angry Birds, Clay Jam and the many hidden object games that are available as apps on smartphones, tablets and computers. Having these easy to play games means more people than ever before are playing video games. Look around a family function to see Grandpa and Cousin Joe playing a fishing game on their iPhone. Mom and Sister Sandy are battling Star Wars Angry Birds on the touchscreen computer, while brothers Bill and Ted are tackling one another on NFL Blitz. The point here isn’t what games are being played but the fact that everyone is playing them and often together.
Getting Smart with Phones
Gaming on the go is a recent trend that combines the increasingly tech efficient gadget with video game playing. An array of mobile devices including smartphones, tablets, and eReaders, as well as netbooks and ultralight notebooks, now extend the reach of gaming screens to subways, airplanes, trains and restaurants. This also extends to sports betting as mobile games by NordicBet allow anyone with a smartphone to place bets even when they aren’t at home on the desktop computer. As game developers noted that their in house, television ready gaming consoles were no longer able to compete with the onset of on-the-go devices, they buckled. Now gamers can upload their favorite console style games, such as Dragon Age or Sims 3, straight to their computer—no need for a TV attached console system. This opened up a world of playing opportunities that pulled gamers from their nonexistent parents’ basements to the streets and grassy stretches of a more social world, which by default gives gamers a greater social presence.
Social Requirements of Games
While some games are easy peasy and targeted at the previously nongaming crowd, there are also games that are so difficult they come with a requirement to seek assistance from other gamers. One game, an indie PS3 game released in 2012 titled Journey, wholly depends on the help of others for advancement. No narration, no dialog, only a sandy plane in which a player walks or flies through the game. No one dies, no one competes, yet this game, which depends on assistance from non-identified gamers in white cloaks, won 2012 Game of the Year for its beauty and gaming experience.
Of course, there are other games, such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, that come with manuals for completion. These games require social connectivity as gamers depend on one another to navigate the fantasy worlds in which they play. From Easter eggs to glitches preventing characters from advancement, gamers seek out assistance not from instruction manuals but from fellow gamers across the globe. According to Mocospace, social activity is a necessity for advancement in video games: “’cause the more friends you have, the more people you have working with you, and, in some cases, working for you,” said Imran Malek, Mocospace chief of gaming.