Online games, and gaming, in general, has always been associated with geek culture. And with that association, comes a myriad of different misconceptions about online gamers.
“Why are you wasting time playing games all day?”
“Playing games won’t earn you a living in the future.”
“Go out and meet people, you won’t make friends sitting in front of the computer all day.”
Ever heard of these words being uttered by a parent as you’re booting up your PC for a game of DotA? If your answer was yes, then you’re not alone. Our elders, specifically the previous generation has a predisposition to dislike gaming. But it’s not entirely their fault. There are misconceptions floating about that are untrue about gaming culture.
In particular, online gaming has gain relevance and notoriety in the past few years. You’ll find eSport tournaments held all over the world with enormous cash prizes. And you’ll also find people that are making a decent living off playing games.
The world is changing but for our elders, they can’t fathom a world where you can play games and be successful. Like anything else in life, there are people who take a few anecdotal evidence (whether right or wrong) and treat it as gospel.
That said, here are some BS facts about online games that are untrue.
1. Online Games Are For Nerds/Geeks Who Have No Real Friends
This is a common stereotype for the entire gaming community. The general consensus is that gamers are computer geeks who lack social skills. But this is the more “polite” description of this stereotype.
In other words, many people think that online gamers are overweight, basement-dwellers. Harsh description aside, this is often not the case in reality. Though it differs from individuals, it does take a certain finesse to communicate with people online.
In terms of relationships, online games offer an opportunity to meet real people. Physical location doesn’t matter when it comes to online games. Forming relationships online is today’s equivalent of yesteryear’s penpals.
You could be in one part of the world and be talking to your buddy on the other side of the world through online games. A far cry from what you’ve imagined a typical online gamer looks like, right?
Furthermore, gaming meetups are more common than you think. Depending on the game, some gaming communities have get-togethers from time to time. They spend time outside and away from games hanging out, socializing, and having a blast in general.
This paints a completely different picture from what is typically known about the gaming community. In short, online gamers don’t spend all their time in their rooms playing games with random nerds with zero social skills.
2. Online Games Are A Waste Of Time
As we’ve already established, being a gamer does not mean you have to be on your PC 24/7. You can still have the time for a social life, as evident by most of the gaming community. Though, the time you do spend on gaming should not be considered a waste.
The misconception here is that people tend to think of gaming as a “waste of time”. But what constitutes a waste of time is a matter of perspective. At its roots, online games are a hobby you can do with your friends. And you wouldn’t say that spending time on something you enjoy is a waste of time, would you?
Do you think that going to the cinema is a waste of your time? Or is playing board games not productive? If you answered no, then online games shouldn’t have this negative connotation either.
Nevertheless, online games are more than just a form of entertainment or “time sink”. These electronic mediums can teach you about teamwork and leadership skills from co-op games. While puzzle games can be difficult, they challenge your mind and problem-solving skills.
3. You Can’t Be Successful Or Make A Career Out Of Online Games
Game developer. Game tester. Professional eSports player. Game Streamer/YouTuber.
Those are some of your career choices if you are really keen on entering the gaming industry. The idea that playing games will lead you nowhere career-wise is a misconception most apparent among non-gamers.
Have an opinion about the gaming industry? Most gaming journalists do get paid for their articles, news reports, and reviews. So playing and talking about online games can become a career.
Alternatively, professional eSports players can indeed earn massive amounts of money. As an example, look no further than a few years back. DotA 2 player Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan won over USD 1.3 million at The International V with his team.
For a 15-year-old at the time, that amount of money is indeed ludicrous, to say the least. Before you jump on your PC to sign yourself up, do note that professional eSports is not easy. Like any other sport, a lot of time, effort, and skills are required if you want to be the best. But if you have all of the above plus the drive to play online games as a career, then it is definitely possible.
Still not convinced? We haven’t even mentioned venturing into YouTube and streaming games as a career. Need proof? Look no further than PewDiePie and Ninja who have made a name for themselves playing games.
4. Online Games Are Massively Addictive
Allow us to preface this by saying that online games can be addictive. This is evident when you look at hardcore gaming communities such as World of Warcraft (WoW). These players spend an unhealthy amount of time “grinding” for items and equipment.
However, not all online games require an exorbitant amount of time and dedication to play. Casual online games are still popular and are also fun to play if you don’t have a lot of time.
The key here is moderation. Anything taken excessively will more than likely harm you in some way. Online games are the same in this regard.
On the other hand, another facet of online gaming addiction is the need to spend real currency on virtual items. Online gamers spend real-life money in-game for a variety of reasons such as competitive edge, items, etc.
In particular, the “gacha” trend seems to have exacerbated online gaming addiction. If you’re unaware, “gacha” games typically employ a loot box mechanism for in-game items. And this trend is even more prevalent on mobile games.
We won’t bore you with the details but the gist of it is the more you spend, the more “chances” you have to get better equipment. The keyword here being “chances”. You are not guaranteed a good item regardless of the amount of money spent. In this regard, “gacha” systems may be classified as gambling for loot.
Of course, we aren’t opposed to spending your hard earned money on a game you enjoy. Whether you want to support the developers or you need a new premium item, spending on a hobby isn’t the end of the world. Again, moderation is key.
Misconceptions are like wildfire. They spread fast and are hard to put out. But if you have a relative, friend or acquaintance who believes one or more of these misconceptions, do us a favour and lead them our way. Hopefully, our article will enlighten and help them better understand the online game industry.