Playing video games has evolved from being “just a game”, to not only an online social platform, but also to make money. However, for most people, it remains an idle hobby. It is a time-consuming and expensive habit. Gamers develop niche expertise; games influence their “real” lives, and has become an encompassing lifestyle for generations to come.
[Photograph of Cousins playing CS: GO]
In the past decade, video games have almost dominated the mainstream society, and its infiltration is growing. Graphics are better, stories are more engaging, playing experiences have also become more interactive. This has drawn more and more people towards the gaming arena. Additionally, the popularity of handheld consoles like Nintendo Switch and PlayStation Portable, which allows people to play video games on the go, allows the young and old alike to gather and interact more naturally, bringing even more people into the world of gaming.
What’s popular now is Mobile Gaming.
This has completely revolutionized the gaming industry. Groups of people can be seen crowding in an estate or local shopping mall to play PokemonGo!. For hardcore and next-generation gamers, MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) has become a trend on handheld devices, cell phones to be specific. The power and reach of the gamer life continues to infect our society. A word of caution, however: computer-hosted MMORPGs are seriously addictive and it has the influence to turn any person into a stay-home geek. Graphics and user interface is ever advancing beyond typical games; featuring full length movies, exciting storylines, engaging characters, and mind-blowing cinematography. You can play and explore forever: there are entire alien worlds to discover, risky missions to accomplish, mystical treasures to unlock, and worldly records to beat.
Gaming tournaments and Comic Conventions are ever growing in popularity, not only influencing the entire realm of the gaming lifestyle, but tourism as well. The top competitors from all over the world, travel to the major tournaments and compete against one another for huge cash prizes. These players devote their lives to honing their skills on a select few games; encompassing their skillsets and it’s their craft, their job, and their passion. At the trade shows, the major & minor gaming companies tempt their fans with the latest technologies, attracting the media and fans on a global scale. It’s an extremely lucrative business.
YouTube and Twitch.tv are the leading online streaming platforms. G4(United States) television network, also covers major tournaments and E3(Electronic Entertainment Expo), including line-ups entirely filled up with programs devoted to gaming: review and preview shows, technology shows, walk-through shows, and more.
With all this media attention: TV stations, tradeshows, tournaments, games with broad demographic appeal, sophisticated systems which turn into home entertainment centres, it’s a culture shock that enabled gaming to spread across the globe and continue to influence the lifestyles of future generations.
Written by Yoji Amashiro
Photograph by Yoji Amashiro