Social Media and Gaming

Gaming has been around for a very long time. The original ‘Pong’ arcade cabinet was first released in 1972, and the industry has only grown since then. In a short 45 years, games were upgraded from nothing more than a background distraction into something that would be difficult to imagine the modern world without. We have developed games that can process colour, we have developed games that can save our progress between uses, we have developed three-dimensional games, and we have even developed games that can connect to the internet to interact with other players.

However, what changes have these features brought to the gaming industry as a whole? Is gaming the same as it was back then? What does it even mean to be a gamer any more? Well, if I was to be frank, I would simply say that while the core idea of gaming has remained unchanged, the process by which gaming is done has changed drastically.

However, concise answers are not what we want night now We want intricate answers. That’s why I’m taking the time to write this blog, so that you can all understand the changes that have affected the gaming industry over the years, with the introduction of features such as the internet and social media.

Video Games have been around since long before the introduction of online guides, forums, and videos. Gaming was generally done in a home environment, and often done alone unless two or more players shared the console. Even further before that, they were exclusive to arcade cabinets that required people to go out and spend money each time they played. Only in recent years have video games become social mediums. With every generation, new features are added that change the way that games are played.

Multiplayer games have been around for a long time, but it was only the introduction of online play that truly opened the social aspect of video games and transformed a medium that traditionally isolated people into something that connected people. The ability to interact with other players online brought a whole new level to the multiplayer concept. This was the first time that games allowed gamers to play with somebody who was not in the same room as them. By this point, video games could be considered a form of social media themselves.

However, video games were not just a self-contained form of social media;  it had become a common feature of many other forms of social media as well. For example, people would record themselves playing video games and upload the videos to YouTube or some other online video sharing site. Online forums such as GameFAQs were only created because of video games. Other popular online forums such as Reddit have many subforums dedicated to video games as well.

With the addition of review sites such as IGN and Metacritic, the days of buying gaming magazines was at its end. Instead, only a quick trip to one of these review sites was needed to find information about any given game. It also allowed viewers to comment and ask questions about the game, which was something that could only be done in person before the introduction of the internet.

Progress further forward in time to the invention of livestreaming. A video that is being uploaded and viewed at the same time it is recorded. Video games are one of the most popular mediums to livestream on sites such as Twitch and YouTube, due to the ability to interact with viewers while you are playing. This has led to a very different world in which video games are perceived.

Not everybody does this, however. Many people still only play games the way they were played originally, without worrying about social media. This ties into what I said earlier about the core concept of gaming remaining the same.

A game, by definition is an interactive activity that is done for entertainment. A video game, by definition, is nothing more than a game that is played using technology. At their core, video games have remained unchanged since their roots on arcade cabinets. It is only the process by which gaming is done that has changed.

So, I guess that what I’m trying to say is, it isn’t the games themselves that have changed, but rather, the gamers have. Social media has never changed the gaming industry. It has only changed the way it is perceived.

Bibliography

forbes.com, 7/7/2016, Here’s How the Internet is Revamping the Gaming Industry, accessed November 2017, https://www.forbes.com/sites/nataliezfat/2016/07/07/heres-how-the-internet-has-impacted-the-video-game-industry/#686632d3611d

highspeedinternet.com, 9/4/2014, How the Internet Changed the Gaming Industry, accessed November 2017, https://www.highspeedinternet.com/resources/how-the-internet-changed-the-gaming-industry/

wordsmatter.org, N/A, How the Internet has Changed Gaming, accessed November 2017, http://www.wordsmatter.org.uk/how-the-internet-has-changed-gaming/

buisnessinsider.com.au, 18/11/2011, 9 Ways Modern Technology Has Changed Video Games Forever, accessed November 2017, https://www.businessinsider.com.au/10-ways-modern-technology-has-changed-video-games-forever-in-just-five-years-2011-11?r=US&IR=T#you-can-play-high-definition-games-through-the-internet-1

felixonline.co.uk, 28/6/2011, How has the Internet changed the games industry?, accessed November 2017, http://felixonline.co.uk/articles/2011-6-28-how-has-the-internet-changed-the-games-industry/

Author: Harrison Roberts

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