How gaming reflects life!
Online gaming is one of the biggest phenomenon’s to have occurred in recent years, and it’s now a common pastime for people of all ages, genders and social classes. The culture of online gaming is a microcosm of today’s pop-culture: from the opportunities that it offers to make money, to the increased media attention from TV, film, books and social media to the way it reflects how people live in such a busy world that we now need to enjoy life virtually.
It’s often linked to films and books. When blockbuster films hit the cinema or major books are released, it’s common to see a game not far behind. The Harry Potter franchise, for example, spawned numerous games, including the 2003 Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup game for the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox.
It offers a chance to make money. The modern world is perhaps more consumer based now than its ever been, so it’s no surprise that many online games now contain commercial features such as loot boxes, (paid-for rewards that enhance the playing experience) and DLC’s (down loadable content you pay for to upgrade your player) It’s also common now to see gambling opportunities online, so online poker and other online games are the hottest thing in the gambling world.
It reflects changing leisure patterns. Going to the movies, for example, isn’t as popular as it once was, and neither is going out to a gaming arcade to play – if you can still find one in operation. Online gaming can be played anywhere, and most often enjoyed in the comfort and privacy of one’s own home, which also matches the broader pop culture trends of “nesting”.
Everyone wants to stay indoors. It’s largely true that young people now want to enjoy indoor activities more often than they want to go outside – simply because they now have the option to stay home.
People are more individualistic. Leisure activities are increasingly individual, and pop culture is consumed with the “loner” more than ever – and single-player online games reinforce this trend.
But they continue to enjoy team efforts. However, modern games such as Fortnite reveal just how powerful the group effect can still be for gamers. “Loners” working “together”.
It reflects the popularity of sports. Sports continue to be a common pastime – although for many more as a spectator than as a participant — and that comes into gaming. The rise of the Nintendo Wii, for example, is rooted in the love for sports that many modern gamers have – and also in the gym and exercise culture prevalent in the modern world.
Multimedia is king. From larger than life advertising, to multi-platform experiences to mega screens, pop culture is full of rich multimedia. Gaming also relies on vivid sights and sounds – and it’s a big part of the gaming experience.
Gaming fits with the latest tech. Some households now enjoy television programs and films, for example, through home-based virtual reality headsets. The trend in gaming is going the same way, and the price of VR headsets for gamers is dropping every year.
Games go viral. Just like popular social media posts that get shared time and again, many gamers choose their games based on what their friends play, which means that the power of virality is at work with games just as much as it is in other aspects of pop culture.