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Online gaming - Is It Just Another Form of Social Networking?

With the internet constantly the way we network, and online gaming becoming more increasingly a social way of life, we ask... Is this the way forward?

When online gaming first came to prominence on the internet, it was mainly the hobby of hard-core gamers playing expansive RPGs or global first-person shooters, but now online gaming is having a strong impact on social networking as well.

Play With Friends

When Facebook was first created, its primary focus was allowing people to communicate with friends and family over great distances, sharing news and photos any time they chose. Soon, gaming entered the scene and people found they could play games alongside their friends and share in the experience. This caught on fast and now, through apps and other forms of mobile communication, people can play games with others wherever they go, with results posted instantaneous to keep things interesting. Soon, other types of games realised what an opportunity this was and traditionally ‘live-action’ games such as poker and roulette were available on the World Wide Web. Online Bingo like that on Mecca Bingo, has become one of the most popular online games ever and allows players to share their triumphs with close friends or people from all over the globe.

Communication

When mobile phones reached the height of their popularity, there were many from the older generations who lambasted the creation of textspeak, calling it a degradation of language. The fact is, language evolves all the time and this new form of communication was no different. Invented to circumvent long sentences when typing messages restricted by character space, textspeak allowed people to talk quickly and see get their point across. With the rise in online gaming, a new language is emerging that bears similar hallmarks. ‘Leetspeak’ is the gaming version of text speak and operates in the same way. Symbols replace words or letters and players communicate much faster than if they typed out the full message. When playing certain games such as first-person shooters, this can be a handy skill to have. This language has also moved into social media, especially with restrictive message characters sizes such as the ones found on Twitter. When you can communicate in the blink of an eye, you don’t want to be slowed down by long-winded sentences.

Crossed Wires

For years, many gamers had two identities; one for gaming and one for social networking. But now the line between the two has blurred and in some places, is gone completely. Now you can access all of your internet ‘profiles’ from one device, whether that’s your phone, tablet or desktop PC. Because online gaming is now seen as something to be embarrassed about in social circles, you can often find someone’s gaming score alongside their Facebook profile, email account or even their CV. Although there are some instances when you don’t want someone to see your high score (such as your boss!) privacy settings allow us to pick and choose what information is displayed to who, giving us the freedom to group together friends and family and decide who gets to see our latest Candy Crush win and who doesn’t.

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