Gaming isn’t what it used to be. That sentiment is a collection of great news, weird news, bad news, and confusing. The reasons vary for that, obviously. And much of it depends on your age (not surprising).
Instead of picking out just the negatives or just the positives, we will take a look at both pros and cons, socially speaking, of this current gaming era and previous gaming eras. And we may poke a little fun at both while we’re at it.
There have been gamer conferences for over two decades. And these conferences were always well attended. Imagine them as going to an arcade to watch someone who’s better than you at your favorite games. That’s not so hard because even in the arcade era, people gathered around a game to watch someone set high scores and cheer loudly for the person.
So there’s always been an entertainment value connected to gaming. That said, today we’ve leveled up and now we watch these gamers on their own TV channel, via Youtube and Twitch, and the power to entertain and gain a following is exponential.
Follow The Money
Online gaming used to be a term for people who played games via the internet across the globe with each other. Remember Halo? That was the biggest game in the world for years because it gave incredible creative control to users. You could form your own game rooms, password protect them, and play with people anywhere in the world.
But now the term “online gaming” can include people like PewDiePie, Markiplier, DanTDM, and a host of other well-known players with a channel.
You may have asked yourself how these people can sit in a chair for 10 hours a day, play video games, stream the action to viewers, and live a normal life. As in, how do they pay their mortgage (insert jokes about living in their parents’ basements)?
The truth is quite simple: streaming is lucrative. Very lucrative. They’ve proven you don’t exactly need higher education to earn big money. You just have to take advantage of the internet and your creativity.
PewDiePie is reported to earn between 250,000 – 1mil every month. The streaming offers opportunities to sell advertising space on his channel, websites, and social media. On top of that, because his viewership is so large, he’s become quite the influencer and merchandiser. All of that equals big money.
But you don’t need to be as popular as PewDiePie to earn a living. Many of us would be fine if we made a fraction of what he makes. So just like real life, there is a lower and middle class within this industry. Not bad for a bunch of men/women that play with their joysticks all day, right?
Go ahead and make fun of these people as much as you want. They’ve been crying about your jokes all the way to the bank for the last 10 years. In the end, it appears they get the last laugh.
There are loads of studies by prestigious institutions, doctors, and psychologists about the amount of screen time children (and adults) receive. As well as the quality of that screen time. They raise concerns that are valid and shouldn’t be ignored. Even many of these rich gamers would acknowledge as much.
We won’t dive into all that science because that’s something you can do on your own and educate yourself accordingly. However, there is some social quirkiness we can look at that may or may not be worth paying attention to.
Um, That’s What You’re Watching?
Parents everywhere are pretty confused why Saturday morning cartoons have been replaced by watching game-streamers yell and act socially awkward on camera while playing a monster game. On the surface, it certainly seems confusing and a bit goofy.
For starters, older generations had fun actually playing games, not standing around watching someone play a game. And cartoons were great stories and fun morality tales for kids, but gaming seems devoid of any substance whatsoever.
And face it, kids are exactly thinking about becoming rich like PewDiePie when they watch these people on Youtube. They’re just zoning out for the most part. So we can understand why parents are scratching their heads about all of this. It just doesn’t seem enjoyable to them.
And before you say, “well that’s just their Boomer showing”, just know that there will likely be a time that today’s youthful generations are confused about what their own kids are doing just as much.
In the end, parents are most concerned about the lack of substance. Gamers aren’t teaching their kids about good vs evil, how to make friends, how to be a good person, etc. So they have a hard time seeing the value in this modern-day fixation. And it’s possible that their concerns are valid, but it certainly depends on the kid in question, honestly.
Maybe the best way to view this era is with a grain of salt, like anything else. Take the good (it’s a fun diversion!) and be mindful of the bad (anti-social activity, lack of substance), and balance out your views on the whole thing. Passing judgments are unnecessary. Lighten up, enjoy it for what it is, and see if there’s a way to get more from it.