No longer a lone-ranger affair

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Visitors try out games at the stand at the 2014 Gamescom gaming trade fair on August 14, 2014, in Cologne, Germany. [Courtesy, Getty]

More often than not, people think that gaming is a solitary hobby. For decades, video games have always been an experience solely for the gamer playing his copy of the game; except when people join up for a round of multiplayer.

But that is not the case anymore as even though sitting alone for hours, gamers aren’t necessarily isolated. With the rise of social media, gamers have perfected the art of building communities in and around video games. Gamers don’t just compete with strangers on the internet, but forge genuine, enduring friendships.

In this age of social distancing, gamers have long had a tool that’s now bringing some relief to those who’ve never picked up a controller before. The explosive growth of gaming during the pandemic has shown that many have found a new outlet for much-needed connection in isolation.

According to a report by bbc.com, citing Animal Crossing, they found out that players could visit the towns of both real-life friends and strangers who share their village code online. Some people even held their birthday parties via the same platform, others went on dates and some couples, who cancelled their weddings because of Covid-19, got married in the game.

Structures of online gamer communities tend to be diverse, highly complex socio-technological structures centred on the organisation of the game.

With the rise of social media, gamers have perfected the art of building communities in and around video games. [Courtesy]

Depending on the type of multi-player game, online gaming communities can vary from relatively small online interactions to huge interconnected network activities encompassing clan homepages, clan networks, Weblogs, gaming zones, online forums, gaming league sites and so on.

Instead of pursuing the gruesome journey as a loner, immersing yourself in one of these communities comes in handy. The idea of sense of community as a social concept revolves around people getting a feeling of belonging and being important to each other.

Let’s look at some of the most well-known communities one can join.

Gamespot

Gamespot is an all-in-one resource for gaming news, launch info, trailers, guides, walkthroughs, downloads, and of course, reviews with a user-friendly interface to boot. The community is active with fresh content posted nearly every minute

The verge

The Verge’s gaming section brings the latest video game news, reviews of the most exciting releases, and interviews with the industry’s biggest names. They cover everything from PlayStation and Xbox blockbusters, to quirky Nintendo games, to the cool indie gems on PC and Android that you might otherwise miss.

Neogaf

Formerly known as the Gaming-Age Forums, is primarily dedicated to the discussion of video games. Founded as an adjunct to a video game news site, on April 4, 2006, it changed its name to NeoGAF and became independently hosted and administered.

Steam

Self-described as “the ultimate destination for playing, discussion and creating games,” Steam is of great value. The site is straightforward and has sections for all the things: industry news, game guides, reviews, gamer artwork, live play broadcasts, in-play videos from users, noteworthy screenshots, and even workshop items from novice to pro designers

Discord

Since launching in 2015, Discord has quickly become one of the top places for video game players to gather and communicate online. Discord counts more than 140 million monthly active users, up from 56 million at the end of 2019. Apparently, over nine hundred million messages are sent per day through the application, and it has over fifty-six million monthly users. This platform has aided in the formation of new gaming communities online due to their simple-to-use interface.

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