When they’re not saving the galaxy from an alien menace or experiencing artistic overtures toward social benefit, gamers have to deal with some negative stereotypes. Whether in the media or in the minds of their detractors, they are often portrayed as socially inept, overweight, non-desirable basement-dwellers.
This, despite the fact that gaming itself has expanded its horizons to include people of every creed and demographic. The advent of the internet has given an avenue for everyone, from grandmas to girlfriends, to enjoy games online. Long gone are the days when gaming experiences were limited to arcades and the homes of computer hobbyists; now, players are getting their fix in a variety of ways and increasingly infiltrating mainstream culture.
Online leaderboards? DLC? Engrossing storylines? Full-fledged franchises? Custom control options? Multiplayer matchmaking? All of these features and beyond are now available on games you can download on your phone or tablet, enhancing the reach of the mobile gaming sector, one that took a while to catch up but is now enjoying a healthy share of the market.
Fantasy football remains explosively popular, but even before the pervasiveness of those preseason draft parties, the NFL and other leagues were a competitive endeavor in another sense — one with real monetary stakes on the line. Taking a chance at big winnings has held a distinctive allure for decades, and famous bookmakers have continued to parlay their lucrative draw into the realm of online sports betting. For some, there may never be a greater thrill.
In the middle of 2016, Blizzard released Overwatch, a first-person arena shooter that took the world by storm. Attracting a slightly more casual player than the usual array of real-time strategy titles like Starcraft or others such as League of Legends, more people are now open to the idea of fertile grounds for live tournaments held entirely in digital settings. Fighting games have a healthy community, and services such as Twitch continue to thrive for livestreamers. In short: The very idea of eSports is expanding, popularizing, and being accepted as a legitimate entertainment form.
Whether you like phones, gambling, or watching matches on YouTube, the very idea of online gaming has broadened to include you. Every state of media, from radio to television, enjoyed a rise to widespread prominence. Soon, online gaming will join the fold as a worldwide force of mass enjoyment.