GAMING AS A SOCIAL LIFESAVER UPDATED IN 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a blessing or a curse, depending on who you ask. For the gaming industry, it has been something of a catalyst. It has put the gaming industry at par with the video-on-demand industry, competing with the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+.

Many people have been introduced to gaming as a pastime, and some of the greatest games in history were released last year, like Cyberpunk 2077. If you’re like many of the students out there, you’ve probably even been seeking assignment help to relieve the pressure so as to find more time playing. You are not alone.

One of the catalysts was how outdoor entertainment all but vanished when the pandemic hit. All festivals were canceled, film production largely ceased, nightclubs, galleries, amusement parks were all closed. People got curious and came in large numbers to the beautiful worlds of fantasy provided by gaming, to get away from it all. Covid-19 didn’t really start the rise in the popularity of gaming, but it significantly catalyzed the process.

Major Headlines

Industry analysts and essay writers found it really hard to keep up with the numbers, leading to revisions and re-revisions of market estimates for 2020. By the end of the year, the market had grown to over $200 billion. Many online games had player numbers like never before, and even as lockdown restrictions eased up, the numbers kept going up, rather than down. The pandemic may have started it all, but none of it looks like it will end anytime soon.

New Consoles

Of special interest was the news around the new Xbox and PlayStation consoles, which were released toward the end of the year. There were numerous discussions about whether consoles were going to be a thing in the long term, but this didn’t stop fans from embracing the new releases, and they sold out almost as soon as they hit the stores.

We seem to be in a new era of consoles, where the hardware seems to be at least a few years ahead of the games. This is to say the hardware is very powerful, but there are very few games that take full advantage of their capabilities. The best we can do is wait a few years to see the real potential of all that firepower. If you’re on the fence about getting either of the two consoles, my advice would be to sit on your hands until prices drop to reasonable levels and games actually come out to match all that technological prowess.

The Emergence of Virtual Culture

As physical stages and events got shut down due to the pandemic, game spaces became the new event venues. Consider the concert by artist Travis Scott on Fortnite, for example, or the one by Lil Nas X on Roblox, or even Stormzy’s track that was sent against scenes from Watch Dogs: Legion, as a backdrop. All of these examples demonstrate that online gaming spaces grew into more than just gaming spaces. Now, online gaming platforms are places where creators can do all sorts of things, from screening films to launching art exhibitions.

The boundary between the physical and the virtual is fast disappearing, and part of this is that political issues are seeping into the gaming world. For example, there were Black Lives Matter protests held on the sims last year, and of course the industry in general has been very vocal about the matter.

Better Quality Games

The quality of games that came out last year was also pretty high. For example, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, drew in a lot of curious new gamers last year. The game is set on a remote island, and mostly involves doing a lot of mundane tasks, like improving your house, doing a bit of farming, and fishing. As the Covid-19 pandemic hit something of an inflection point, families found loads of fun in playing this game, and enjoyed the calm breeze on the beaches of Animal Crossing.

But Animal Crossing went beyond just that. It became a place for people to socialize. Since people could visit each other’s islands, they could have birthdays, weddings, and even hold meetings right in the game. Other games that radically changed how we engage and socialize include Jackbox, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, and Among Us.

These games were really popular, leading to increasing interest on streaming services, such as YouTube, Facebook Gaming, and Twitch. Fans weren’t just playing, but also spending hours watching their favorite streamers play.

Sophisticated Games

There were also some pretty sophisticated games released last year. One of the best was The Last of US II, which won awards. It was an interesting perspective into zombies, giving a complex moral take on the subject. Sure, it was pretty dark, and there was lots of violence, but the game was also a coup in storytelling, voice acting, and screenwriting, to say the least.

Another great sophisticated game that came out last year was Ghost of Tsushima, which explored the world of samurais and their honor. Or what about Cyberpunk 2077, which explored a dystopian yet exciting future.

Indie titles

The Indie gaming community was not to be left behind, with creative new takes and visions by innovative creators. Hades, for example, has you play the prince of hell, trying to fight his way up to the world. It was pretty popular, and competed with many premium titles. Kentucky Route Zero is another example. In this you play an old delivery man in rural America.

Lessons to take away

Gaming has taught us a lot over the first year, and that is that gamers are not a single group you can generalize on. There are all sorts of gamers, across all demographics. Games are also not just games, but also concert venues, arenas for sports, and great hangout joints for friends. As such, they really have become social lifelines.

Now, you don’t have to ask someone if they play games. You don’t do that with music or movies, do you? You just ask the person what kind they like. Now, it’s just as common to ask someone what kind of games they play.

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