Video games are a very successful form of entertainment and things have never been the same after the first computer game, Pong, was created. Video game consoles have become the perfect gift for kids in the 80s and nowadays people who were not even born when personal computers became widespread are making a living from professional gaming. Let’s check some of the most significant effects of video games on modern day society:
1. Influencing popular culture
Popular culture or the culture based on the tastes of ordinary people is a sum of images, ideas, perspectives, and cultural phenomena that also include video games. We have contact with popular culture every day, and we often interact with video games and images related to this form of entertainment. So video games are everywhere because they represent a prominent part of the world that surrounds us.
2. Improving skills
Those who play video games have access to various ways of educating themselves – some of the qualities one can acquire through video games are seeing phenomena in different perspectives, monitoring actions over time, manipulating variables, and facing elements of surprise. Video games can make you a better decision maker and help you have faster reactions. They can even increase eye-hand coordination and motor skills and they encourage people to solve puzzles creatively.
3. Decreasing violence
Even if some video games are based on violence, these productions are considered to discourage violence. For instance, the arrest rate for juvenile murderers in the US has fallen from 71.9% to 49.3% between 1995 and 2008, and this is the exact period when video game sales have increased massively. Did it happen because children and teenagers express their violence in virtual worlds or is this correlation based on the fact that social development is lower when you spend more time indoors playing video games? Further studies need to be conducted to determine exactly what prompted this change.
4. Less physical activity
There are also negative effects of playing video games, and these drawbacks are usually highlighted in publications for older generations. It looks obvious – spending more time in front of the computer playing games means less time outdoors performing physical activity. However, there are also other factors that have contributed to a lack of physical activity, such as watching TV, parents dedicating less time to their children, and children not being left alone and unsupervised on the street anymore. Combatting lack of physical activity should be a more complex demarche that would target more than the time people spend in front of computer or video game consoles.
5. Poorer social skills
The social skills of people who spend a lot of time playing computer games are poorer compared to people who spend more time socializing. Socialization is an important part of human growth, and this process is nowadays affected by technology, which encourages us to communicate from a distance rather than talking face-to-face. So, if the idea of talking to an unknown person in the bus seems awkward to you, you may be shy or you may have been influenced by technology and video games.
6. Creating a new profession
So far, it seems like not much could come from playing video games – some people view it as a waste of time. However, it’s been many years since professional gamers have emerged, and these people earn millions of dollars by competing against each other in competitions viewed by millions of fans. Those who play video games for a living are usually in their 20s, and the most lucrative titles are Dota 2, Street Figher, Counter Strike, FIFA, and Heroes of Newerth. These games are called eSports and hundreds of tournaments have been organized so far. Everyone is welcome in this profession, but only the most passionate succeed.
7. Education – negative effects
Although video games help with developing skills and training your brain, they can eventually have a negative impact on your education and future – gamers often neglect their studies due to their immersion in the game. Instead of doing homework or attending classes, teenagers prefer to play video games. For instance, the famous professional gamer Kurtis Ling known as Aui_2000 has chosen to give up university studies to play Dota 2 professionally full-time, but not any school dropout who spends all their time playing video games ends up as a professional gamer.
8. Encouraging consumerism
Gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry, and not without a reason – new attractive titles are released all the time, encouraging fans to buy the newly released games of their favorite genre. Moreover, you also need to buy the platforms needed to play the game, and other gaming gadgets. Before you know it, a good part of your revenue goes to gaming, while the negative effects of gaming begin to become stronger and stronger – and this phenomenon happens to millions of young people all over the world.
In conclusion, video games are not necessarily bad – the way we use and manage them makes the difference between entertainment and addiction. One thing is for sure – they are here to stay and will always attract millions with their fascinating stories and gameplays.