Are video games social

Computer games are becoming more and more popular. This not only changes the lifestyle of young people and children, but also adults are not spared from this development.
In addition to the so-called "cyberkids" - the new German term for young people who spend several hours a day playing computer games - one can also find more and more adults who play a card game on the screen during their office break or even compete against their colleagues in network games.
Programming and design techniques developed for games are used in other areas. In the field of virtual reality in particular, games are often decisive for new developments or bring products to market maturity. On the other hand, game worlds such as those in MUDs are also in the interests of research.
Another aspect in which games have a major impact on development is the development of new hardware. Often it is the games that influence the decision to buy a more powerful computer and thus promote the sale of such devices. The classic applications of the PC, namely data and word processing, do not require the capacity of a modern system.

Our contribution to this topic should essentially deal with the following questions:

  • Do computer games harm the social life of gamers?
The widespread answer will probably be that computer games lead to loneliness, as the player sits alone in front of his computer for days and does not go outside to pursue traditional adolescents' activities. Against this, however, is the fact that groups can come together through computer games, just as they can with any other hobby. Often you don't play computer games alone.
  • Can social contacts arise in virtual game worlds?
If you want to go further, you can put forward the thesis that multiplayer games on the Internet open up completely new opportunities for social contacts. The obvious conclusion that with excessive consumption of Internet games the social life of the player shifts from the real to the game world seems too simple to us. We are of the opinion that there is a connection between the effects on social life in reality and in play in some points, but that it makes sense to first consider the two developments separately.
  • Do computer games lead to a loss of reality?
One could ask the controversial question of whether the game worlds are to be viewed strictly separately from reality, or whether they should not be viewed as a new part of it. The fact seems to be that frequent computer games can lead to social and psychological disorders. However, this should be viewed as an exception to the rule without underestimating the risk.
  • To what extent do computer games also change other areas of our lives?
Numerous developments in the hardware sector become more interesting for manufacturers when they are used in the games sector. There would certainly not be so many 3D graphics cards on the market today if they were only interesting for professional areas of application such as CAD.
It should also be considered that computer game characters would also be marketed in other areas. Examples of this would be Nintendo's "Mario", which is depicted, for example, on sneakers and other items of clothing in order to increase their saleability. Recently, complete game scenarios have also been made into movies, such as "Super Mario Brothers", "Mortal Kombat" or "Street Fighter". Conversely, there are probably many more computer games that implement films or television series.
In computer games there is much stronger communication between producer and consumer than in other areas of the market economy. Many game companies take on suggestions and criticism from the part of the players, which they usually reach from the Internet, in order to take them into account in new developments or revisions. These revisions find a very efficient distribution channel with the Internet. In the case of software, the idea of ​​tele-shopping appears to be most consistently enforceable. It is questionable whether these developments can have an impact on the general market economy.

When considering these questions, the following developments play a role:

Virtual reality games like "Doom" or "Quake" have spread that computer games have previously failed. The technology makes the games more interesting because of the increased immersion.
  • Increasing the complexity of games
Especially in the area of ​​strategy games, the concepts have developed strongly. The increased complexity makes a longer "familiarization period" of the player necessary, but it gives him a much greater freedom of action. In addition, many different game courses are conceivable, so that the long-term play value increases, since new opportunities for the player can arise with each new game.
  • Use of network technologies
Networking was the main factor behind the popularity of "Diablo", for example. Not a revolutionary game concept, but the multiplayer option, made the game a best seller. It is also relevant for the sales figures that in the multiplayer mode every single player needs the original CD. The increased computing capacities of new processors are often only used in the field of computer games (in addition to very special professional areas of application such as CAD, which are by far less relevant to the market). Most powerful PCs in private households are not used to process texts more efficiently, but to be able to play current games properly.

We have broken down the concrete discussion into:

A few additional links and references can be found here.

And to look up one or the other, there is the glossary.

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