Gaming is something that gives off a lot of misconceptions. The image of teenage boys sat in their bedrooms playing computer games from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to sleep, (breaking occasionally for a small thing called ‘school’), is one of the first things that many people think of. However, this is 2013 and we’re now living in a much more social world that means that the aforementioned teenager in his room could be playing games and chatting with his friends and people all over the world.
Gamers can now play and share games in real time, chatting with their friends and even Tweeting or liking them to help to promote it to the world to try and encourage others to get involved. As a result, games go viral. You only have to look at the success of games such as Angry Birds to see how games can become incredibly popular, receiving more than 25million likes on the verified Facebook page. You also have the ability to play games and share them afterwards, telling friends about your score or experience on the X Factor Bingo BOGOF game you’ve played (or whatever it might be), and encouraging them to try and beat your score or to get involved.
This adds a whole new element to simple games which previously might not have been seen as challenging as you and your friends can stand in the playground, sit on the train, or in the back of the car trying to beat each other’s scores.
Over the years the web has played a much greater part in gaming, allowing people to reach new people to play with and against, and also to interact with. We’ve moved on from the days of chat rooms where you could meet people and talk, and we’ve incorporated them in online games where you can pass on instructions to help them complete the game. If you watch television, you’ll probably see all kinds of adverts for gaming websites that let people go online and play on their lunch breaks against their friends, or while sitting at home on a day off against other online players, with advanced security settings meaning we can stop children from going on particular sites if necessary.
Today, we’ve reached a stage where games consoles can be connected to the Internet wirelessly – using Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network – and gamers can play anyone, anytime, anywhere, and even talk to them in person using headsets with earphones and microphones to pass on instructions – like in Call of Duty to give an example.
The advancements in technology and the fact that broadband speeds have become much faster meaning there are less frustrating drop-outs when you’re 3-2 up against your opponent on FIFA with seconds to go, and that gaming, as a whole, is much more social and the industry – and most importantly, players – are reaping the benefits.