While it makes sense that people are focusing on the new public squares of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as places where people congregate and meet (and yes, argue), there are other areas on the internet that are becoming more and more popular. 

Video games pre-dated the internet, but for most of their existence, they have always been seen as something for kids. However, now that the kids who played video games in the eighties and nineties have grown up, it has become a massive multi-billion dollar industry and is constantly at the forefront of modern entertainment. This means you can be sure that it will play a huge impact on how we play and work together in the decades to come.

The Online Experience

In the same way that prominent business owners use marketing platforms (you can visit the site here) to communicate with their employees and to get the operation running, video games can also be used to bring people together on a couch. However, nowadays, it can bring them together from all over the world on virtual gaming teams, playing every game you can imagine. It might be a (comparatively) realistic sport of soccer or a completely fantastical race where you are throwing bananas and lightning bolts around a world made out of desserts and candy. The more you play you start to realise that just as important as the competition are the friendships you are making along the way. 

Meeting people has changed, from finding relationships in bars and clubs and friends through intramural teams and shared hobbies, to doing this same sort of thing online. A Call of Duty or Fortnite team of random people might start real-life friendships. Games that are less focused on competition and more light-hearted cooperation are becoming good spots for prospective singles to become partners. Some games have even taken a more risqué approach, and now you might end up doing things that you would have to visit previously if you wanted the same thing.

While some people have had some challenges with getting used to video calls because of recent real-world events, this was nothing new to video gamers, who are overly familiar with being ‘on the phone’ for hours at a time with friends and opponents. 

It should be said that as the quality and reliability of internet connectivity continues to improve, more and more of our shared experiences can now take place in the digital realm. While a live concert experience can’t be beaten, if the show is sold out, why not give people who missed on tickets a chance to watch and hear it through a live stream? 

Digital town hall meetings might have only come into existence because of recent real-world events, but there’s no reason that we should go back to the old way of doing things. As time goes by, fewer and fewer people will know a world without the internet, so it only makes sense to adapt to what the community is used to.

Digital Swag

Since we should all be striving to use less waste in every aspect of our lives (if only because conserving our resources will keep things less expensive going forward), a great new way to show off our houses and what interesting and cool things we have in them is to have virtual spaces for this exact thing. Hire digital artists to create one-of-a-kind paintings, sculptures or experiences that people can only have if they ‘go’ to your virtual house. 

This is already happening to some degree with the extremely popular Nintendo Switch game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The developers have offered many different designs for clothing, furniture and decoration to ensure that how you present your island and home is wholly unique and representative of your personality (or any bizarre idea you have). You can visit each other’s virtual worlds and swoon over this or that. The game also allows you to upload designs you create in the real world, so you aren’t just limited to what the developers made.

The VR Headset 

While Virtual Reality is not a new concept, it has taken much longer than expected to become a mainstay in each household. This is partly due to its price since it still requires a top of the line desktop or laptop computer, and its spatial requirements, as you have to clear the furniture out of a whole room to not trip over anything when you jump in. Despite the constant promises of it being the next big thing, we are still awaiting the tipping point, but it might just involve video games.

The Valve Corporation, makers of popular and groundbreaking games like Half-Life and Portal, recently released what can be considered the first ‘killer app’ of the virtual reality era, Half-Life: Alyx. For the first time, a world that you actually want to explore and interact with is at your literal and figurative fingertips. While other Half-Life games involve more and more outlandish scenarios with sci-fi weaponry, Alyx works simply because you can ‘walk’ around a city like it was a real place.

On the other end of the spectrum is Pokemon Go. A game that anyone can play with their cell phone and its camera function, as it uses augmented reality, which slightly changes the world in front of you if you look at it through your camera. In this case, tiny little monsters are all over your neighbourhood, and you gotta catch ‘em all. While it was easy to dismiss this as a fad when it came out in 2016, this affordable (free-to-download) game gave many people a peek at what it will be like when hundreds of millions of people see a different world by looking at it through a different lens.

The future might be a meeting in the middle and although it might not involve a cumbersome headset that blocks you from the real world, it might involve a pair of glasses that offers augmented reality and virtual reality so that you can balance both worlds efficiently and immediately. 

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Billy Goodwin A.K.A Skaidon (my gamertag). As you can probably tell I love gaming. You will more often than not catch me with my headset on yelling online. I also love blogging, especially about the tech industry, hence the birth of the blog ' Skaidon'. Feel free to get in touch with me anytime or if you fancy a challenge add me online using 'Skaidon'.