Gaming and Lifestyle: How Online Games are Changing the Way We Live

man playing game

Online games have come a long way. From a text-based fantasy game accessible only through ARPANET to enormous 3D worlds connecting millions of players with ultra-fast network speeds, it’s fascinating how online games will continue to evolve.

Parallel to its evolution is its increasing popularity. In recent years, the prevalence of online games in our society has exploded. The global online gaming market reached a value of $159.3 billion in 2020 and is expected to surpass $200 billion in 2023

The influence of online games on our lives goes beyond just the economy. It also has a remarkable effect on our lifestyle. It is changing how we interact with each other, spend our free time, and approach our daily activities. 

In this article, we will dive deeper into how online games are changing the way we live.

Why do people play online games?

Before we look at how online games are changing our lifestyles, we first need to understand why people play them in the first place. A couple of decades ago, the audience of online games was limited to hardcore video game enthusiasts. Today, even non-gamers have tried playing online mobile games on their smartphones.

Many reasons make online games attractive to people. These include the following:

    • Convenience – Online games can only be played with an internet connection. While this may be a negative for some players, it’s what makes these games so convenient. It makes it easier to find people to play with, given the size of the communities these games shelter. Moreover, many online games can be played on mobile devices, making them extremely portable.
  • Immersion – The enormity of the worlds they thrust players into can sometimes blur the lines between fantasy and reality. They are filled with thousands of players engaged in their own activities and NPCs players can interact with.
  • Sense of community – At its peak, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft had 12 million subscribers. Needless to say, it’s hard to feel alone playing online games considering how big their communities are. It’s a great platform to create virtual friendships and to have a friendly competition with others.
  • Accessibility – Most online games, especially mobile games, are free-to-play, making them greatly accessible to a wider audience. Not having to pay for the game removes the fear of wasting money on a game one will not enjoy. Also, many online games are not demanding in power and are capable of running smoothly, even on mobile devices. As a result, more people will tend to give these games a shot. 
  • Extra income – While not the primary attraction in online gaming, some games have built-in mechanics that allow players to earn real-life money. These online money-making games are attractive to people who seek extra income.

Bringing people together

Online games are often designed to encourage social interaction. Most MMORPGs feature gameplay elements such as central hubs, guilds, parties, trading, tournaments, and even marriage. Additionally, these games incentivize cooperation between players by making harder content easier to accomplish in a group.

The servers of online games can host hundreds of thousands of players at a given time. During peak hours, the virtual worlds of these games can get busy, with players congregating in various locations. The guilds and competitions these games feature help forge friendships that go beyond its virtual confines.

The communities born inside these living, breathing virtual worlds have accomplished endeavors outside of online games. In 2019, players of the popular video game Destiny organized a charity event called GuardianCon Charity Stream, raising over $3.7 million for charity. The money was donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to help in its fight against childhood cancer.

Affecting time management skills

Addiction is a real threat that comes with online gaming. Given how immersive and engaging these games are, a person can end up ignoring their responsibilities in favor of more playing time. Mobile gaming has also made games more intrusive to our routines because of their accessibility.

In worst cases, students have flunked and adults have been terminated from their jobs because of video game addiction.

Letting online games take over our life can have adverse effects on our time management skills. However, online games can also do the opposite. Many games require players to complete tasks within a limited time frame. This limitation rewards players who can effectively budget within the virtual world. This way, online games can teach people how to better manage their time.

Improving mental health

Depending on how you play, online games can be a therapeutic hobby to boost your mental health. The satisfaction players get when slaying tough enemies, winning guild wars, and achieving rare achievements can be an effective way to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. 

Furthermore, the social element of online gaming can abate feelings of loneliness. The friendships forged in these games can provide emotional support to players who need it. It can also raise one’s self-esteem and provide a sense of belonging. All of these add up to help players achieve mental wellness.

Final word

The influence of online games on our daily life will get stronger moving forward. As technology continues to advance, it will be interesting to see how the programming languages used by video game developers evolve and further shape the online gaming world.

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