Video games have become an important part of social interactions. It’s not only kids and teenagers who are going crazy about gaming. Young adults and even older generations have their favorite titles and spend time in front of the screen, experiencing a new reality. The number of those people is huge and is presented in billions. But is gaming truly powerful in terms of influencing popular culture, or is it just a trend that will expire one day without a footprint?
As the gaming industry continues to thrive, it is clear that gaming is not just a temporary trend. It has already revolutionized several things, such as evolving into a new type of sport that we call esports or changing the face of already existing traditional games. Take the example of classic card games like poker. It’s no longer a game played only on tables but on screens. All you need is to be interested in the game, find some poker tips and platforms where you can start playing, and that’s all. Gaming has become a profession where enthusiasts earn hundreds of thousands of dollars.
What is Pop Culture?
There are various definitions for this. Generally speaking, whatever values people broadly share can be considered pop culture. In other words, pop culture is mass culture. Classical music, for example, is high culture because it has a specific audience with particular interests and probably educational levels. Statistically speaking, not many people listen to classical music.
Our planet has 8 billion inhabitants, more than 3 billion of which actively play video games. This is 37,5% of the population. Moreover, if we consider those who do not actively but from time to time play online games, this percentage will slightly grow. Is gaming a pop culture? It is, indeed. Let’s see the aspects in which the gaming industry impacts pop culture.
The biggest influence is when a trend creates new trends. Today technological capabilities are evolving, and it is directly related to the gaming industry for two reasons: first, because it has a big potential to adopt innovations, and second, it’s a multi-billion industry, which for businesses means the more money they invest, the more incomes it will bring to them. Video gaming trends include terms that could even be not familiar to many people, such as casual gaming, fitness gaming, etc.
Talking about new trends, there is always a special place for esports. It has had such significant growth and popularity that even traditional sports media started covering it in their news sections. Esports is not the electronic version of traditional sports but a completely new type with the same logic – competition. Instead of sportsmen, the audience watches how the gamers compete against each other. There is an important note to make here: esports is not new, it just started getting popular, and this process is accelerated by the growth of the gaming industry and technologies, of course.
The first thing that could come to your mind when talking about pop culture is music. People who walk on the streets wearing headphones, there is a high probability that many of them listen to pop music. Or do they?
Music is a powerful phenomenon that can provoke emotions and feelings. Hence, it’s being used in other industries, like cinematography, theater, and exhibitions. No matter how impressive Picasso’s artwork is, when you hear some music in the exhibition accompanying the show, all the emotions feel more contrast. Video games, not surprisingly, create and use music that gives some vibes to the players. We mention this fact because the aforementioned video game music has become a new genre, and even on Apple Music, you can see a category named Gaming. You won’t be surprised if you hear which music genre is one of the most listened to in Canada. You know the answer, don’t you?
Gaming has an enormous influence on the movie industry as well. Lots of movies about gaming have been released. For instance, Apple TV+ has a series called “Mythic Quest,” where the whole scene is in a video game development studio, and the characters create a game and face the industry challenges, failures, etc. On the other hand, Netflix decided to build a new section on their mobile application, introducing mobile games based on their most-loved TV series, such as “Stranger Things.”
This is the last example in this article, but not in social life. There are much more. Social media is the most popular reality where billions of people meet, share, like, and comment. We don’t want to talk about the obvious influences that gaming has on social media, like playing games, avatars, etc.
The biggest and most explosive impact was when the Facebook founder announced the building of a new platform – the Metaverse. This was not an announcement about a new product or a development in the field. This was a declaration about the fact that gaming has become a social media. Soon, very soon, we all will not only play video games but will become one of those characters wandering around in the made-up world.