Even though online gaming is becoming more popular among various demographics, there’s still the idea that people who are into online gaming are solitary people. Think about how the stereotypical “gamer” is portrayed. Often it is a young man with very few friends, who tends to be depressed and may have a hard time connecting with people in “real life.”
If you’re an avid online gamer or know people who are, you might agree that this stereotype is more of a myth than reality. Years of research has revealed that video games are good for the brain and can help some individuals improve coordination and other essential skills. Another benefit of online gaming is creating friendships and long-lasting connections.
Making Friends Through Online Gaming
According to a survey from the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of all teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 spend their time gaming and 36 percent report having made new friends through gaming.
Not only does gaming help teen gamers feel closer to the friends they already have, but 52 percent also reported feeling closer to friends that they only knew online. The survey also revealed that even past middle school and high school, many online gaming fans stayed in touch with online friends during their college years.
Creating A “Third Space”
Online gaming provides the perfect opportunity to connect to people that you may not normally be friends with, but because you share the same interests or both have strong problem-solving skills, you connect instantly.
The online gaming environment is often referred to as a “third space,” which means that it an environment different from the home or workplace where people from different backgrounds can come together and create or experience a sense of community.
In this “third space,” people have the opportunity to not only work together to problem solve, but many feel like they can connect without judgment.
Staying In Touch
Even though many online gaming fans spend time playing with people they don’t know personally or have never met face to face; some people use online gaming as the perfect opportunity to keep in touch with friends and family (this was a popular trend when Facebook started using games like Words With Friends).
Life Long Relationships
Jeff Kaplan made a friend (later to be wife) while playing the multiplayer game, Everquest. For many years, Kaplan thought his friend was male (due to her screen name), but the two became close, and his longtime friend became his wife.
While not all gaming friendships result in face to face meetings or even marriage proposals, online gaming can make you feel apart of something and allow you to connect to others without feeling like you need to be someone you aren’t.
Whether you’re playing at a poker table at an online casino USA or Halo 4, don’t pass up the opportunity to make new friends or consider connecting with others who have the same interests as you.