It used to be that gaming was pretty much a solo affair. The typical image of a gamer was of someone who would play alone at home against the computer. In the best scenario, they could hook up with a friend to challenge them.
However, this has all changed in recent times. The arrival of new technology has meant that it is now possible to feel part of a big gaming community any time that you play online. So, how has this change come about?
The Incredible Rise of eSports
Perhaps the biggest development in this area has been the rise of eSports, which has now gained a place in mainstream media, as at https://www.theguardian.com/sport/esports. This brings together players and spectators in a competitive environment and it is a form of entertainment that has proven to be extremely popular.
According to a poll carried out for the Washington Post by the University of Massachusetts, 73% of Americans between 14 and 21 years old played or watched multi-player online games or competitions in 2017. Yet, when it comes to people over the age of 30, 75% neither play nor watch this type of game.
This is now a billion-pound industry that is expected to grow even more in the years to come. The biggest eSports audiences to date have come in the last couple of years. 127 million people watched the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational, covered at https://esc.watch/blog/msi2018. Meanwhile, over 80 million viewers saw the League of Legends 2017 World Championship semi-final.
The Appeal of Online and Live Dealer Casinos
Another way of playing that has altered greatly in recent years involves casino games. In the past, this was sharply divided between those played in land-based casinos and those who played at home, alone or with a group of friends.
Now that online casinos have become a popular option, it is easy to play games online. The addition of player tournaments and live dealer games allow players to get an even greater feeling of being part of a big gaming community.
An interesting approach can be found at the Paddy Power site. Their Jackpot King slots provide a community prize pool, detailed at https://games.paddypower.com/c/jackpot-king. This means that everyone playing games such as Gold Frenzy, Fortunes of Ra and Star Spinner is aiming to win the same big jackpot at the same time.
Massively Multi-Player Online Games Are Hugely Popular
Another fascinating approach that has added to the community feel of gaming is that of massively multi-player online games (MMOG). This is a way of playing where thousands of people can all take part in the same game and interact with one another.
A few of the top titles in this category include Runescape, DC Universe Online (https://www.dcuniverseonline.com/home) and Guild Wars 2. An example of how popular MMOG games have become can be seen in the fact that World of Warcraft is believed to have over 10 million registered players.
There is no doubt that the appearance of big gaming communities has changed the way that many of us play. All of the signs point to this being an ongoing trend that attracts more and more players to enjoy playing online with others.