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The Social Side of Gaming

 There's an unfortunate stereotype of the lonely, awkward gamer that's been a blight on the billions of players worldwide for decades. Even here in 2022, when so much of our daily lives centre on digital technology, there's still an assumption that gamers are an isolated bunch.  

Social Side of Gaming

In reality, this stereotype couldn't be further from the truth. According to a OnePoll survey of North American gamers conducted last year, 64% said that gaming, in general, made them feel less lonely. Gaming has become so mainstream that the social communities springing up in the digital realm are thriving in real life too. One in five adults in the US alone has made friends through gaming since the beginning of 2020. The survey even revealed these online friendships are so significant that many respondents would invite their gaming friends to their wedding! 


Video Games are More than the Medium 

So, what is it about online games that inspire not only such massive global followings but also build real communities among people who might not otherwise have any reason to connect?  

Well, 21st-century video games are more than the limitations and stereotypes of the medium. Yes, they provide a means of escape or distraction – particularly those games that fall into the hypercasual category – but they also inspire curiosity and a desire for learning amongst many gamers.  

Going back to the OnePoll survey, 6 in 10 adults surveyed stated that playing games has helped them understand and learn more about the 'real' world. Meanwhile, 3 out of 4 players engaged in real-world research about the new topics they were exposed to in the digital realm, and a substantial 62% said games had inspired them to set new goals in life.  

Diversity in Gaming 

Another unfortunate stereotype about gaming is that it's largely a hobby enjoyed and designed for males. While it's true that for several years during the emergence of the industry, design companies and development studios were dominated by men, the current gaming landscape is characterised by inclusion and diversity.  

Female players, for example, make up a significantly higher percentage of the global gaming audience than you might first assume. In Asia, women make up 40 to 45% of the gaming population, while in the US, they represent 41% of the gaming audience.  

The gaming landscape is expansive; there are games out there for everyone, irrespective of their gender, background or interests. Plus, with more and more games emphasising the social aspects of the pastime, such as Journey, Animal Crossing or No Man's Sky, the global gaming audiences stands to become increasingly more diverse before the year is out.  

Become a More Social Gamer 

If you're feeling inspired to become more social in your gaming habits, there are plenty of gaming experiences and online gamer communities waiting to welcome you. As we briefly touched on above, there is a game out there for you; you only need to decide what you want to play. 

Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) are often the first port of call for gamers looking to increase the social aspects of gaming. The likes of Fortnite even let you compete in squads, where you can team up with fellow players from anywhere in the world and go into battle together.  

If online multiplayer games aren't your vibe, maybe you'd prefer to fire up your competitive side and play online poker with friends instead. Home games hosted on digital platforms are a great way to reconnect with your besties, even if the distance between you means you can't get together in the real world for a night of cards.  

As you explore social gaming, you might even become curious to find out what type of gamer you are. Plenty of research has been conducted into the psychological aspects of gaming, with certain traits indicating a specific playing style in gamers. Achievers, for instance, are players for whom gaining points and resources is a major priority, while Explorers prefer to immerse themselves in a game environment and explore new territories. 

Of course, very few gamers can truly belong 100% to a player type. One of the best things about taking a social approach to gaming is that you'll discover just as much about yourself as the worlds and gamers you'll be getting to know.  

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