Gamers might be stereotyped as teenagers playing in front of the TV or computer but technological developments are changing the demographics drastically. Young children utilizing educational resources, business professionals participating training programs, adults playing on the computer and even the elderly enjoying online bingo are all gamers, too. Now, widely available and deeply embedded into the culture, the effects of gaming on social interaction and learning are being more closely examined.
Multiplayer gaming has taken off with the use of social media websites like Twitter and Facebook. Friends can connect with one another to play and share new games.
Not only are there games and apps available right on websites like Facebook but it has also become a primary source for gamers to tell their friends about what they’re playing. Everything from smart phone games to new gaming consoles can be linked to and discussed through social media sites. It gives fans an open venue for discussion and endless number of resources to read.
Future of Gaming
As one of the fastest growing industries, social gaming will continue to reach new consumers and be used in other areas of entertainment and education. As more scientific research studies the responses of the human brain to gaming, game developers can apply new ways of triggering developmental skills through game play.
Some companies are using timeless classics to create modern gaming. Rovio created one of the top most downloaded games Angry Birds Star Wars. The story is inspired by “Episode IV: A New Hope,” as a winged Luke Skywalker meets Obi-Wan Kenobi and learns the ways of the force. Each bird is a different “Star Wars” character, such as the red bird with Luke’s blond hair and the giant, hairy bird resembling Chewbacca.
A New Wave of Education
Justin Marquis of OnlineUniversities writes about the development of social skills through gaming, comparing it with studies on students who gain experience and competence from reading books. There is still a great deal to be learned on how the human brain is affected and developed through gaming, but new findings could further propel the use of educational gaming and highlight the importance of social interaction through online games.
Achievement Through Interaction
In addition to having real person-to-person interactions, online gaming can be another source for socializing. It’s, of course, important for people not to rely entirely on social gaming for friendships but use the interaction as a tool in developing real life friendships as well.
While users on forums or YouTube carry on conversations through comments, gamers work on discourse as a way of achieving goals. In a game where people interact and work together, like numerous MMORPGs (Massive-Multiplayer-Online-Role-Playing-Game) players need to strategize through communication to accomplish tasks and common goals within the game. This helps build teamwork skills and teaches people how to interact with others learning that the actions of one teammate can drastically affect everyone else.