How video gaming became one of the world’s most important cultural trend?
Gone are the days when video games were frowned upon as a niche activity only enjoyed by teenage boys. This is because video gaming is now a multi-billion-dollar industry that’s starting to make massive waves across the whole world.
From the rise of gaming celebrities like PewDiePie to the growth of competitive gaming tournaments like DreamHack, it seems as the video gaming revolution is starting to get more and more significant. But what’s behind this trend and where will video gaming go as a cultural force?
Video Gaming’s Expanding Demographics
Far from being the preserve of young teenagers, the demographics of gamers have shifted to include a much broader audience. A recent study by Statista found that 21% of players in the USA are 50 years or older.
As a result, there’s been a much higher demand for games that shy away from the traditional genres. We’ve seen a dramatic rise in the number of ‘Match 3’ puzzle games. And there’s been significant growth in sites that feature a variety of online casino games that also offer different types of casino bonuses for UK players which tends to give more value to its players. As such, it’s no surprise to find that casual gaming is starting to gain greater acceptance among the mainstream media.
These trends are a marked contrast to the 1980s and 1990s where news media was filled with frightening stories about the impact of video gaming. But as gamers have matured, it seems that our acceptance of the gaming phenomenon has made it a central part of our cultural lives.
That is something that’s starting to get reflected in the identity of the protagonists in video games. While the likes of Lara Croft may seem passé, we’re beginning to see a new generation of video game characters like Horizon Zero Dawn’s Aloy who offer something different from the standard gun-toting young male.
Gaming’s Infiltration Into Other Media And Culture
Given that the video gaming industry now exceeds both movies and music in terms of revenues, it’s little surprise that key players in both of these industries are seeking to gain inspiration from the world of gaming.
In the past decade, we’ve witnessed major Hollywood movies like Warcraft, Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed that originated from established video game franchises. Plus respected musicians including Paul McCartney and Nine Inch Nails have all found success in writing original soundtracks and scores for games that include the likes of Halo and Quake.
The fact that such established figures would view video games as a credible art form has undoubtedly helped video gaming become a global force.
That is something that has been seen in the rise of eSports festivals that regularly attract thousands of spectators who watch pro gamers aiming to win multi-million cash prizes. While these gaming festivals may way off reaching the prestige of seeing Foo Fighters at the Leeds Festival, it’s clear that they are on the rise.
Can Gaming Culture Affect The Status Quo?
While video games have a cultural force, the phenomenon has mostly been in the hands of big businesses. But we have started to see a new wave of indie games developers that are hoping to threaten the status quo much in the same way that film-makers did in the 1970s and musicians did with revolutionary movements like punk and hip-hop.
Much of this success has come through the rise of mobile gaming that allows game developers to create simple games that don’t require the financial muscle of so-called Triple-A games.
Some of these titles, like Minecraft, might not initially seem to hold too much revolutionary appeal. But with over 112 million active players of a game that was reportedly created by a games developer on his downtime, it shows that meaningful changes can come from nowhere in the buoyant video games industry.