What is getting people into gaming?

Gaming is often greeted with negative connotations and often blamed for being the reasons younger people of today no longer venture outdoors to take on recreational activities. However, we pose to you, what if gaming is the solution.

What do we mean by this?

Well, a clear picture of Government spending shows a major cut in youth projects and services across the UK by 62%, from over £1bn in 2008 to £388m in 2017. This funding has meant more than 600 youth centres and nearly 139,000 youth activities, clubs and services are now gone.

Essentially this means for young people, this opportunity to go outdoors is rather slim, with many suggesting this has been the root cause for the steep incline in crime across the country.

So it appears younger generations are now at a crossroads. Venture out with the risk of getting caught up in the wrong crowds, or stay indoors, sheltered. It is for this reason the UK is home to just over 36million gamers, as younger generations look to cure their boredom in a more productive way.

But gaming is a lot more than just meets the eye, with many studies suggesting video games are helping to provide elements of self-achievement and a need to flourish.

Gaming Obsession or Pursuit To Flourish?

Fortnite (“fortnight”). Usually known as a period of two weeks. However, use that term now and many will assume you’re talking about the viral sensation video game. A game that has truly gripped gamers from across the world for its free-to-play, accessible on all devices, and the ability to play solo or with your friends. However, above all of that, it was labeled as one of the most ‘well-designed video games’.

But what classifies as a ‘well-designed video game’?

According to Drs. Edward Deci and Richard Ryan, a game should seek to satisfy what all people are looking for in the need to flourish.

 

“We look for competence — the need for mastery, progression, achievement, and growth. We seek autonomy — the need for volition and freedom of control over our choice. And finally, we strive for relatedness — the need to feel like we matter to others, and that others matter to us.” 

 

Currently, school is in many ways the place where younger people achieve such levels of competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Here, student’s are taught discipline, control, and structure which provides a great platform for later in life. Of course, a student’s experience is never the same with many educational institutions – taking different approaches to learning. However, it’s clear why teachers, and students alike, may struggle for motivation in the classroom – especially in a world that has now become so digital-focused.

In comparison, gamers pursue a similar need to flourish.

Competence is gained through achieving the stories aims and practicing their skills. Autonomy is grasped by calling the shots, taking the challenge on in their own way and experiment with problem-solving. Above all, video games are the stage for people to achieve high levels of relatedness with many social outlets. For instance, many games include elements of a virtual environment allowing gamers to play alongside one another, rather than once being restricted to after-school programs or forming small close bonds in the playground.

To clarify, our position is not for gaming to replace education – far from it.

We believe both should come together, providing a completely new experience. Whilst also providing new solutions to a lack of youth projects.

Social Influences Will Also Come Out Trumps

Whilst running our esports events, we, of course, see the need for competence and autonomy, but what shines through quite significantly is the need for relatedness. Being seen as “accepted by others” is such a powerful thing in society today. Not necessarily just in gaming, but in all aspect of life.

In the industry we are in, we see it more often in younger people to be seen as talented by others. It is, for this reason, we exist, to offer the esports experience we do. Allowing younger people to express themselves, and make new friends along the way.

Gaming together

Jem speaking on BBC Berkshire

We are bringing people of all ages and communities together, to do what over 90% of 2 – 17-year-olds love to do, game. Whether it’s their form of escapism or socializing, the power of gaming is instrumental in restoring the ‘sense of community’ which has been long forgotten in recent years.

Throughout our experience, we have run esports events, meeting many people with different backgrounds, races, gender, LGBT and SEN. Despite all of their differences, once they have a remote in hand, the reason why we do what we do shines brightly… They play as one. It’s like they’ve known each other forever.

We’ve heard stories of people meeting up at our events and forming meaningful friendships, irrespective of their different backgrounds.

It’s not just us who have noticed this trend. A study from ESA state;

 

“Online video games have become one of the most common places

for teens to meet their peers and create lifelong friendships.”

 

Furthermore, video games have been found to improve a sense of kinship with online teammates, through voice which contributes towards meaningful friendship.

According to PEW Research Centre:

 

“Playing online video games helps 78 percent of teens feel more connected to those they already know; 52 percent also report feeling closer to friends whom they only know online.”

 

As well as creating new friendships, it helps maintain communication with their friends, whether that be after school or even as far as living in different countries.

Gaming Encourages Experiences

Gaming online with new or existing friends also has other benefits, such as a place to share interests and experiences. Just one way of how social trends begin.

Through gaming with the same people, you begin to learn their characteristics, personality, and keen likes and dislikes beyond gaming, for instance, sport.

According to many, over 80% of gamers said that the competitions in eSports have increased their interest in wanting to participate in other team sports.

Evidence indicates that games can help students learn a variety of important skills such as critical thinking, creativity, teamwork, and good sportsmanship. One study concludes this when Robert Morris offered an eSports scholarship for the first time two years ago.

The study consisted of two groups of students – football players and gamers – despite the level of physical sporting attributes differed, there was very little to separate both groups levels of competitiveness, perseverance, focus, determination, and both groups showed a similar desire to excel as part of a team.

Both forms of sport require students to be focused on detail, good hand-eye coordination and a strategic mind. For those who don’t excel at Physical Education, they can often be forgotten, and not have the opportunity to represent their school or college, and through experience, there is no greater feeling that representation. Again, another way to be able to flourish and achieve relatedness.

In one of our recent podcasts with Jason, an avid gamer, he shared with us about how playing video games, FIFA in this instance, started a desire to want to get into football.

What gets people into gaming?

Jason on his Gaming Journey

Like any young person, he had always wanted to control himself on a game like FIFA. However, like the case with many of us, we didn’t quite make it.

I remember when I was young, football was everything to me. I always looked forward to training in the evening and game on a Sunday. However, I’ll never forget that brutal day my mum said I wasn’t good enough to make it. Still to this day, 15 years on, it hurts…thanks Mum.

Wrapping it up

We wanted to find out, what gets people into gaming, and on reflection, it’s shown that since “going outdoors” perhaps isn’t as safe as it once was, or the lack of options are not as great, gaming has become the solution to keeping people, of all ages, safe.

Despite gaming stories becoming more enriched and teaching us key skills, it doesn’t replace the experiences we get from within the classroom to be able to flourish. Yet, gaming can be seen as a supporting act, with social influences giving us the need to feel ‘relatable’ to others.

From connecting and gaming with others, this is also where people can learn and get involved with new activities they perhaps wouldn’t have considered, such as football. As research has proven, the mentality of a gamer and sportsperson can be very similar.

Finally, we’ve seen first hand why local esports events help people showcase their talents, in a safe and controlled environment, again opening up the door to meeting new people with similar interests.

 

Interested to share your experiences in gaming like Jason? You can email me at mitch@mavreel.com and we can set up a time to chat (and have a game, obviously) when you are free!

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