Are online gaming communities the clubs of new members or will the next generation of online gamers lack any social skills that cannot recognize a three dimensional object even if it falls on their head? Looking at some of today’s online games shows that, despite all the gloomy prophecies, virtual gaming creates a new, larger, global form of community based on human interaction.
One of the oldest and most common claims against online games concerned their anti-social nature. Opponents of the Internet saw online gaming as the enemy of the community, causing people to prefer the solitary act of playing games on the Internet rather than engaging in more traditional social activities such as playing sports games, visiting the local bingo etc.
However, the growth and development of online gaming made this statement a bit irrelevant. A decade or so of broadband Internet access proves otherwise: online gaming is a social activity by nature. From classic card, board, puzzle, and sports games to massively multiplayer online games (Second Life, World of Warcraft, etc.), online gaming is nothing if not isolated and/or antisocial.
Let’s take online backgammon for example. Backgammon, the ancient board game, was traditionally played in backgammon clubs as a one-on-one or tournament game. Backgammon rules used to spread in the old viral marketing, by word of mouth.
But what would a backgammon player do from a small town with no backgammon clubs nearby? Online games solved this dilemma. The largest online backgammon rooms host hundreds of thousands of players who can play backgammon games with each other, chat with each other, discuss game tactics and strategies, share information, gossip and do what members of the community do when they meet.
Another game that demonstrates the importance of the social aspect in today’s online gaming is Second Life. The relatively new game has become a phenomenon. Although it is defined as a game, Second Life has shed all the traditional characteristics of a game: it has no rules, no strategy, no competition or real objective.
Instead, Second Life players – excuse me, residents – can engage in various social activities, such as buying and selling things, hosting เว็บแทงบอล or being invited to parties, displaying art objects or visiting art exhibits, and engaging in other behaviors similar to life. At the same time, they can make new friends and/or enemies and experience the full range of human emotions with each other.
These were just two extreme examples: the classic board game going virtual, and the embodiment of cyberpunk authors’ visions. However, online gaming communities are much richer. Online gaming communities can be based on a shared interest in a certain game or on the abstract idea of interaction. Either way, the basic need in human communication did not pass the world with 3D web technologies.