The video game industry is now projected to be worth more than its movie and television counterparts put together, so there’s no doubt about gaming’s popularity in 2023. According to a recent Statista study, over 2.7 billion people have played video games in their life.
But, even as gaming and Esports continue to balloon, many people are still scratching their heads with the same question: why? Why do people love games so much? At Gamelevate, we’re going to dive into what it is about gaming that makes them so gosh darn popular!
Points for stating the obvious, but sometimes the best answers are the most simple. Video games are fun. With Hollywood-esque visuals, scripts and soundtracks, games offer an unrivalled sense of escapism, whisking players off to vibrant and diverse virtual worlds where they are in total control.
It’s a healthy way of indulging fantasies and bucket list items, especially those that might not be acceptable or even legal in the real world. Just look at the enduring appeal of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series for proof of that in action.
In all seriousness, that sense of escapism video games provides can be seriously powerful. Escapism through distraction has proven to be a solid way of having negative feelings dissipate without the need for traditional therapy processes and, for many gamers, knowing that they have a couple of hours reserved for playing is all they need to get through the stresses of the daily grind.
A Sense Of Progression
As humans, one of the most universal presets in our psychology is the need for progression. And it is that sensation video games tap into whenever they are booted up. Whether it’s something as linear as clearing some obstacles and jumping on a flagpole or grinding up another FACEIT rank, that sense of progression can have a profound impact on a gamer’s self-esteem and dopamine levels.
In fact, the power of progression in video games has already led to its influence stretching outside the industry. The term ‘gamification’ is used to describe the method educators use to make their products, courses and tools feel more like a video game as a way of improving motivation, understanding and retention.
Remember when your parents used to berate you for playing games, claiming that they were a ‘waste of time’? Well, the growth of the gaming industry has now meant making some serious bank is an actually viable career path for those with the skills.
Through platforms such as YouTube, Twitch and Kick, gamers have the opportunity to begin making money through the titles they play through a number of different means. Ad revenue, sponsored partnerships and donations are all ways these platforms allow gamers to make money, and the most popular streamers and personalities have shown just how lucrative a career this can be.
As well as this, playing at casino sites or Esport titles such as CS:GO, League of Legends or Fortnite professionally at events and tournaments have become equally viable options for those looking to translate their skills in the server into cold hard cash. These Esports scenes now come with professional careers for those outside of playing, with teams and companies requiring everything from technicians, nutritionists, coaches and analysts, marketers, promoters and influencers and even psychologists!
Even before the lockdowns and isolations of the COVID days, video games were already the easiest and most accessible way for people to stay connected and make new acquaintances. Games provide a constant script for things to talk about, they eliminate the social pressures from the real world and can be enjoyed whenever a player wants.
It ties in with our earlier point about escapism, but the communities that spring up around almost every single title out on the shelves are a safe space for people to let their true selves, perhaps a version they keep hidden in their day-to-day, shine through.
Platforms like TeamSpeak and Discord make it so easy to stay in contact with the friends we make in the server, with these relationships sometimes standing the test of time for years. We’ve all seen the ‘Last Online’ memes, but there’s definitely plenty of truth behind how our online friendships have the power to hit us right in the feels!