As the COVID-19 virus brought about massive economic disruptions in many industries, the video game industry is seeing widespread developments in consumer activity. As physical distancing measures force people to lock themselves indoors, the younger generation is looking for ways to keep themselves entertained. As recreational facilities closed down, this left them with no choice but to fulfill their entertainment needs through video games.
Even before the pandemic, gaming has offered an engaging distraction among the young and old. In fact, the industry has been creating a large-scale impact on the global economy. According to Newzoo’s global games market report, the gaming market is likely to surpass $200 billion in revenue by 2023.
Although consumers today rarely buy video games than before, we see an emerging trend in building PC gaming setups. PC gaming has lured millions of global players to enhance the power of their PC for online gaming, leading to a growing number of PC gaming enthusiasts.
As more kids turn to online gaming, it has become an effective way to cope with isolation and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic. But apart from being a form of recreational activity, how do the lockdowns changed the user engagement with online gaming? Read below to understand the implication of video games on children during a global pandemic.
Gaming helps people socialize
Under normal circumstances, children would build their social skills in classrooms, parks, and playgrounds. But as governments closed down schools and public spaces, video games became an essential lifeline for young people seeking social activities when in-person interactions are impossible.
Game researchers and psychologists believe that children can learn different social skills by playing video games which they cannot develop from in-person interactions. Since they can’t spend time with their friends, video gaming will fulfil the need for interaction. In the time of the pandemic, video games become virtual playgrounds by providing opportunities for children to create, build, and develop social competence and relationships.
Video games also allow users to develop techniques when dealing with problems, learn how to socialize with friends and people abroad, experience different moods or emotions and create various resolutions to a specific conflict.
Gaming builds empathy
The collaborative and social nature of online games led more people to become drawn to video games to overcome isolation. For example, Minecraft encourages players to build things together, while Roblox allows its users to showcase their work to other players. Because of these shared experiences, children develop an inclination to help people, whether online or offline.
Studies also show online gaming promotes altruistic behaviors and empathy among children, especially if the game developer designed the game with the same objective in mind. It increases exposure to people who came from different cultural backgrounds. As a result, children have gone beyond playgrounds and school hallways for socialization. Gaming platforms became the only venue where kids can expand their social circle aside from their families and nearby friends.
Today, there are plenty of online platforms that allow people worldwide to chat and collaborate in real-time. This is especially true in multiplayer video games, where players can interact and learn from one another, especially with people from other countries. Their exchanges are often about culture, news, and current COVID-conditions abroad.
Gaming provides an escape
As month-long quarantines push people to develop a yearning to explore the great outdoors, video games created a sense of escapism to players while they self-quarantine at home. Online gaming becomes a form of escape that captured people’s desire to explore during a pandemic. It has also assumed a role to offer social connection and comfort during these times of struggle and isolation.
This phenomenon has magnified people’s desire to escape from the difficulties in the real world and live a harmonious and peaceful life virtually. It has also satisfied the children’s deep desire for social interaction and overcome loneliness.
Video games created a dreamland for their users where they can temporarily escape diseases and disasters. They created a haven where players can live at a relaxed pace and do whatever they want at any time and place. But this dreamland is just a “make-believe world” that only exists online. Still, this provided players with the motivation to thrive and live happily while in isolation.
Although modern teaching tools can never replace video games, they have provided plenty of learning experiences as people find ways to stay connected and entertained while indoors. As we lock ourselves at home during this pandemic, video games will be our constant companions to gain friendships, experience fun, and acquire new learning opportunities.
Meta title:The Implications of Online Video Games during the COVID-19 Pandemic
meta desc: Video games have become children’s escape as they stay in quarantine during this pandemic. Discover their implications on children’s behavior and how it helped them overcome loneliness.