As with most other hobbies and interests, gaming has the potential to bring people together over a shared common ground. In fact, if you take a peek into the history books it quickly becomes clear that humans across the globe have been relying on games as a catalyst for social interaction for thousands of years.
Chess, for instance, originated in India as far back as 280–550 c. where it was known as Chaturanga. Before that, citizens of Ancient Rome kept themselves entertained by playing Tabula, a very early form of board game that is regarded to be a common ancestor to backgammon. Even earlier in Ancient China, people played Go, a simple strategy game between two people where the aim is to gain more territory on the board than your opponent.
The amazing thing is that all of these games, or slight variations of them, are still being played today. It’s not only a testament to their longevity, but also the fact that people have always felt an innate need to connect with each other via some form of gaming.
Of course, fast forward to 2017 and the gaming landscape has changed dramatically – and the range of games available to us has become a whole lot wider. Whether you’re a fan of platformers, first-person shooters, RPGs, iGaming, sports or strategy, there’s now a huge selection of games out there that caters to every conceivable taste. Oh, and don’t forget that you can now play games wherever you are, whether it’s on a video game console, a PC, a tablet or your mobile phone. Battery life permitting, of course.
We can also delve deeper into the specific context in which people are playing games in the modern age. According to a national research report from the Entertainment Software Association, 54% of the most frequent gamers play with others – friends, family, parent or spouse. It shows that the majority of modern gamers still use this pastime as a way to connect with others. Let’s take a look at a few specific genres where social gaming is thriving.
Over the past decade or so, the world of online casinos, poker rooms and bookmakers has grown exponentially year after year. With both new and established operators alike vying for the attention of the gaming market, it’s no surprise that the iGaming industry has become a hotbed for new ideas and innovative selling points.
The social side of iGaming is one aspect that we’ve noticed gaining traction in recent years. Take online bingo, for example, a corner of the industry that is investing heavily in seamless chat functionality that allows fellow players to talk with one another and discuss the game as it plays out. Dedicated review sites post online reviews of new bingo sites every single month, which allows players to see which operators are known for their focus on the social aspect of gaming, whether that’s through in-play chat functions or any other social initiatives that are unique to a particular site.
When we think MMORPGs, our minds tend to revert to titles like World of Warcraft or Runescape. But although these games maintain a loyal following of die-hard players (particularly with WoW’s latest expansion pack, Legion, released last year) these days our choice of MMORPGs is a lot broader.
These games are perhaps the closest you can get to an authentic online community of gamers, all of whom share the same virtual world and work together to overcome the same challenges. Latest titles like Bless and Pantheon: Rise Of The Fallen, have caught the attention of many people this year, so it’s not too much of a stretch to say the MMORPG community is stronger than ever.
Of course, most of us have our very own social gaming portal tucked away in our pockets every day – our phone!
A 2016 study conducted by Statista found that the average American gamer plays an average of 3.6 games per month, and at least one game on a daily basis. When you consider that almost all major mobile games – from strategy games like Clash of Clans to sports games like NBA Jam – are now developed with some form of online play in mind, this presents a convenient opportunity for people to log in and play with other gamers every single day, even if they are located thousands of miles away from one another.
In a world that is becoming more and more dominated by digital technology, it’s important for us to use tech in this way: to preserve social connectedness between human beings wherever possible. If that means challenging your grandma to play a game of Fallout 4 from time to time, so be it.
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