[Editorial Tuesday] How Gaming has Changed the Social Climate

Introduction

Gaming today has evolved so much from the past that even we have trouble keeping up! With the improved graphics, new concepts and styles, gaming is continuously evolving, changing the landscape for the gaming community and impacting the community. One of the things that is affected by the rise of gaming technology is the social climate. As MMORPGs are getting popular around the world, the connection between different countries is made possible through a singular game engine. That's right, a gamer from the past will never have known the efficacy of gaming used as a tool to bring the world even closer. For today's article, we will discuss how gaming has changed and evolved the global social climate!

How Gaming opens a path towards Globalisation

MMORPGs are becoming the predominant choice of game in the world. Usually, they operate different servers for parts of the world. Most of them are usually linked, allowing people of different nationalities to gather together. Perhaps not only MMORPGs, even console gaming have developed their technology to have WiFi built into their consoles. The PS4 and Xbox have WiFi capabilities, allowing gamers to play their favourite games through WiFi. Some games even offer speech such that gamers are able to communicate in-game as well!

And last but not least, the mobile domain. Social gaming has become the norm in countries over the world. Take LINE for example, in addition to being a messaging app, it also has contains games that its users may partake in with other LINE users. Facebook games also allow its users to connect and play with each other. The social functionality of both social media apps complements the gaming aspect as gamers are now able to communicate more easily amongst other gamers of the world!

So what does all this means to us? Well firstly, gaming paves the way to international social networking. Through a common interest, gamers are able to congregate on the net to indulge in a common activity. Since the Internet has no boundaries, talking to anyone on the planet becomes possible. Getting to know someone, learning their culture, and just relaxing with them can be done from the comforts of your own room

Take for example MapleStory. During the peak of its era. International friendships are formed more easily. With the advent of consumer gaming services such as Steam and Garena, it became all the easier to communicate internationally. Truly, gaming has created a platform globalisation, bringing the whole world, one step closer to each other.

Gaming and Individualism

Gaming, like the media, possesses the ability to impact and influence its audience. Often, unless you are in an MMO, gaming is a solitary activity in which the gamer interacts with the contents of the game. As different people are raised in different environments, so too, is the ability to interpret. Everybody has their own unique way of interpreting key issues. As such, certain games raises critical moral dilemma or asserts a strong stance towards a particular topic.

One of the most famous examples of this would have to be The Walking Dead. Gamers who have played this game before will know it's frustrating choices. Actions will always have consequences. Therefore, to select an option is to be prepared for its resultant effect. There really is no 'perfect' option and indecisiveness and inactivity will cost you dearly. Due to the strong character development, an otherwise desired choice chosen might cause your character to suffer from adverse effects impacting you in the process. A similar game to this is The Witcher, in which an earlier choice might have a direct relation with a later situation.

Next on, developing individualism and personal moral philosophies, we have Heavy Rain. Heavy Rain impacts players, the concept of balance and devotion. You can't expect to please everyone and eventually someone will have to be left behind. Although a morbid and dismal portrayal, the game mirrors reality in the sense that we sometimes have difficult choices to make and choosing one over the other is equivalent to forsaking the latter. Through Heavy Rain and personal interpretations, gamers are able to develop their moral codes via a stimulating and an interactive storyline.

Of course, not all games have to do with anything moral. Some people derive their confidence from characters in game as well. In any action game, adventure game or RPG game. People will have a certain character that they look up too. Slowly but surely, some might even start to take after them in them. Sounds, a tad bit chuunibyou you might think. However, isn't the reason for gaming to escape reality for a just a couple of moments and indulge yourself in a world where you can have no worries? Even if gamers emulate their favorite characters, aren't those characters created by other people as well? Essentially, game characters are merely a conduit for idealized behavior in society. Some traits are applicable, albeit fanciful and eccentric.

So as you can see, gaming also has the ability to shape someone. Some games have a story to tell and a lesson to impart while some games can be used as an instructional tool to further develop oneself. In short, gaming could possibly be used as an avenue to expand one's horizon. Since game-makers come from all corners of the globe, their perspective, their ideas, their imagination and so much more are expressed into the content they create.

The economy of Gaming

Next, we will move on the point of an economy for gaming. Over the years, more people are finding it easier to earn a few quick bucks off gaming. In fact, some people are even doing it as a career. Due to the popularity of gaming, new opportunities are created. It is akin to that of e-commerce in which the buying and selling of goods has become the norm in games.

This is especially predominant once again in MMORPGs. Since every MMO has its own economy and system, some players have taken to transacting in real life for weapons, items and even character development. Since the use of currency is easier in real life than grinding, some people would rather pay for a good item than grind for it since it is more convenient. This short term income is dependent on luck, however, or connections. Depending on the rarity of the item, it is not inconceivable to think that a single item can be transacted for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Gun skins in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) for example, can cost upwards to thousands of dollars. It may even astonish some people that there are in fact, people willing to buy it.

Next on gaming as a professional career is the introduction of E-sports or pro-gaming as it is called. After the new millennial, eSports became more recognized. Games such as DOTA and the CounterStrike series are amongst the first few games to be featured in competitions. Today, various games such as League of Legends and DOTA 2 are featured in international arenas where various countries get together to triumph over the rest. The prize for being the champion could range from tens to hundreds of thousands, making pro-gaming, a feasible career. Though limited, some universities in the US have already started to introduce eSports degrees. Indeed, gaming may not just be a tool that changes the social climate, it may even affect the economic climate and society as well!

The last avenue for gamers who want to make it big in the eSports industry is none other than streaming. The most famous example of all would be Twitch. Twitch is a live-gaming streaming website where gamers could set up live streams of their gaming for others to view. Featuring anything from friendly competitions, eSports or even video game walkthroughs, Twitch is the one-stop destination for gamers. Alternatively, some gamers have taken to YouTube to showcase their talents as well. Several YouTube stars have even dedicated a specific channel just for gaming such as Smosh and PewDiePie. Their videos may not be competitive in nature but they can even be downright hilarious.

In conclusion, gaming may not just be a force that affects social climate, but it may even affect the economic climate as well. From creating jobs to the development of a new industry, gaming has evolved tremendously through the passage of developing societal norms. Amazingly, the gaming industry was not heard of until quite recently. It takes a certain level of skill to game. This creates more opportunities for individuals whose talents lies in gaming. With the development of the gaming industry, a new platform is created and this allow gamers to showcase their talents to the world.


Final Thoughts

And that's the impact of gaming! Gaming not only holds the power to transform lives, its effects are known throughout the whole world as well. Gaming underwent through scrutiny after a series of bad reputation due to over-gaming causing death and maladaptive social behaviour. Now, however, it is perhaps time to touch upon the positive effects of gaming. As one of the best forms of recreation, it deserves some justice.

Are you a gamer yourself? Are you proud to be part of a group that revolutionised society? What's your role in this ever-changing industry? Are you a pro-gamer or do you have passive income from gaming? You can even be an audience to a twitch and you would still be an invaluable part of this massive group. Everyone is playing a critical role, making gaming one of the most celebrated industries of the new millennial.

Araragi

Writer

Author: Araragi

Writing from a little island known as Singapore. It is through my articles that I want to show that the world of anime reaches out beyond the boundaries of Japan. From different age groups to individuals coming from different walks of life, everyone and anyone can be a lover of anime. To quote from Kingdom Hearts, 'There are many worlds out there, but they share the same sky.'

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