Gaming and Society

In my #cmad entry I wrote about Gaming and Society.

I’d go more in to detail about that.

Please note: when I talk about gaming, I mean multiplayer online gamers and what comes along.

Gaming is for most of the gamers a hobby, for some even a lifestyle. The most of whom are logged in on a daily basis in their game and spend, if they spend money at all ~15 Euro / Month for their games, that’s 180 a year and that would be 0,64% of the average income after taxes in germany.

It’s a pity that all available statistics do not go that much into detail. They don’t define Gaming, they include people that just “like to play games from time to time”. I would never refer to a person that plays Farmville on Facebook as “gamer” nor about someone who plays “Hearts” on his laptop when bored.

From my point of experience I’d like to focus on the “hardcore gamers”, those that play 3hours and more per day, those that spend 30-50 Euro/Month for games and gaming related stuff. E.g. I really love those nerd shirts with characters from games or texts like “your skill in reading increased by one point”, and I love game plushies. Other may want to have every collectors editon from games they like etc etc.

I’d like to compare that to persons that like horses and go riding. If you’re in charge of an animal you’ll spend at least 50 Euro (most of the time even more) share for the horse, you’ll have to care for it, walk it and that on a daily basis, with no less than 2 hours. This is considered to be a pretty normal hobby.
Spending the same amount of money and time on gaming is not a pretty normal hobby, it’s “crazy” and, as written on Monday, “socially awkward”.

Though you’ll most likely met more people in teamspeak than you’ll meet on the grange, you’ll train teamwork and cooperation, learn to decide quickly what has to be done in various situations, whereas the riding will most likely tran your leg and back muscles and empathy for animals.

I’m not saying anything against riding here, my best friend has a horse herself, but I’m trying to point out that surely these are different hobbies, but neither of it will result in social incompetence.

And being socially incompetent is something non-gamers often consider gamers to be.

What can we do against this prejuding behaviour?

  • Talk about it! Talk about your hobby, but try to avoid “nerdish” language. Don’t talk about how amazing it is to headshot your enemies. That does sound strange to an outsider! Rather talk about the social aspects of gaming, or skills you evolved through gaming.
    I have earned a lot of my strategic planning while gaming for example. Of course I always had this kind of thinking inside my mind, but games were responsible for how I handle strategic thinking nowadays.
    Also leading guilds or clans can teach you how to lead in real life. Of course not completly, but it helps.
  • What else? Show it! Show which games you play to your parents, non-gaming friends.
  • Make presentations about it! Gaming relates to lots of stuff, so if you’re still at school or university, talk about these relations: e.g. talk about the free to play concept in an economics class, give a lecture about social structures in games for sociology, show the art of games in your digital design course,…
  • Explain it! If someone is intersted in that hobby of yours, explain it, don’t say “You wouldn’t understand anyway” or “Well that would take to long.”
  • And last but not least: Stand up for it! Don’t lie if asked what you did on the weekend. When you sat in front of your PC eating pizza and killing that huge boss monster with your guild: say it! Say “I met with friends in the virtual world of [Game] and we had a lot of fun playing together.” Write it in your resume! All HR Employees have read the unlikely hobbies of “analyzing new business strategies”, “looking out for new trends in the blabla industry” or whatever fits best for the job they’re recruiting for. Outside the gaming industry they’ll not face the hobby “gaming” that often. What makes you different makes you intersting.

Someday people wont think of killing sprees first, when you tell them that you like games. Let’s speed up that process 🙂


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