How Online Gaming Fosters Connection And Collaboration

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A way to connect regardless of distance

Story Highlights
  • Gaming is not just a solitary hobby; online gaming fosters connection and collaboration among players.
  • Online gaming communities offer support and companionship, especially for individuals facing social isolation or addiction issues.
  • While online connections in gaming can be valuable, they may not fully replace real-life interactions, and a balanced approach is essential for overall well-being.

People often have the misconception that gaming is a solitary hobby. While single-player games certainly exist, most people who game in their leisure time also play multiplayer. Even in its initial stages, people used to go to arcades and connect with people with similar interests. With how easy it is to communicate with people worldwide through the internet, it’d be no exaggeration to say that online gaming fosters connection and collaboration.

Ease Of Communication

Online Gaming
Online Gaming (Image from iStock)

The most straightforward way to showcase how games foster connection is to look at team-based multiplayer games. Even if you’ve little to no social experience, having a common objective to work towards gives strangers the necessary push to connect with others. Games cultivate your ability to collaborate, whether holding objectives, killing the enemy team, or scoring a goal.

Games offer people ways to interact that simply aren’t available in real life. Those who struggle to communicate verbally can text. Those who’re too anxious to do that as well can use pings. The players often make up their own languages as well. Seeing a stranger jump twice and immediately knowing what they’re trying to say is always lovely.

Online Communities For Offline Games

You may think that single-player games are the complete opposite of anything relating to connections and collaboration. You’d be right, partially. For example, your interactions with other players are limited if you’re playing a rhythm game. Even so, you may want to beat high scores made by others on the leaderboards. A great example is the speedrunning community, where people band together to finish games in record-breaking times.

Similarly, optimizing your builds and theory-crafting character kits is something that players rack their brains together to figure out. Places like Reddit give communities to people who otherwise would have no way to interact with others. One study says that giving these people communities to belong to can help them overcome social anxiety.

Alan Wake Cosplay by Edvard Spells
Alan Wake Cosplay by Edvard Spells

There are, of course, games that are purely driven by their stories. With no builds to optimize and no one to beat, it may seem like there’s no need to connect with others over them. Yet, like with movies and books, they can also serve as topics for people to talk about and discuss. It also allows people to express themselves creatively through fan art, montages, and cosplays.

Improving Relationships Between People

Improving Connections Through Gaming
Games can bring people closer (Image from Jeshoots)

It’s not only strangers that you play games with. Gaming together can improve the relationship between friends who no longer have the time to meet in person or between those who’ve drifted apart due to distance. Even families no longer able to sit down together can play Minecraft online. 

People can also form new relationships with the people they play with. I met some of my closest friends through different games. Sometimes, these connections can go beyond just friendship as well. The popular League streamer Tyler1 is famously embarrassed that he found his partner, Macaylla, through League.

Making It Easier To Connect

Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash
Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash

It’s challenging to find people who share interests with you. This is especially true in the case of games, even more so if there’s a specific niche you enjoy or if you live somewhere with little exposure to games. Due to this, people with such hobbies were often left alone. The normalization of gaming as a hobby and the ability to connect with others regardless of distance has made it almost impossible for anyone to be left alone unwillingly. No matter how niche of a game you might be interested in, you’ll find a community of people who are equally into it as you.

Even gaming addicts who’ve become asocial and would otherwise be left without any help now have communities to interact with. These communities help with rehabilitation naturally and are vital to reigniting the need for socialization in people with bad prior experiences. Having friends who share your interests and hang out with you, even if only inside a game, can do wonders for your mental health, as shown by a study conducted by Wenzhou Medical University in China. 

Can These Replace Real-Life Connections?

Face-to-face communication provides nuances such as facial expressions, body language, and physical touch, which are integral to building deep emotional connections. However, for individuals facing geographical barriers or social anxiety, online connections can serve as a stepping stone toward forming real-life relationships. Ultimately, a balanced approach that combines both online and offline interactions is ideal for nurturing meaningful connections and holistic well-being.

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