ONLINE GAMING - Just a couple of decades ago, video gaming was often considered to be the domain of geeks and nerds, frowned upon as being a fringe activity by much of society. But with the advent of widespread and increasingly more reliable internet connections, along with the proliferation of mobile devices and smartphones, this is no longer the case.
Indeed, thanks to the online age in which we now reside, perceptions have changed and gaming is now viewed as being another form of entertainment. What’s more, Adult gamers are now in the majority of the global populace, using the common term that refers to participants, according to research undertaken in Australia.
There are also many benefits to playing online games, amidst a greater and more diverse choice of options than ever before, all capable of piquing our interest and engaging our brains.
Defying the myths that gaming is bad
Over the years, it’s hard to ignore the negative press that has often surrounded the gaming industry, particularly when there are so many games based around warfare and violence. Nevertheless, despite the protestations of politicians eager to suggest otherwise, no hard scientific data has ever proven that video games cause or inspire violent acts, when committed in the real world. But frequently, games have been made a popularist scapegoat, akin to when rock music was accused of inspiring Satanism.
Recent studies in Australia have actually found that playing online games, now that most are available for digital download or direct play via the internet, can actually be a beneficial part of our daily lives. According to study from Bond University and the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA), older Australians now make up the largest group of new players, while almost 50% are over the age of 65. No longer just something that kids do, adults are discovering benefits including reduction of stress, increased social interaction, plus improvements in physical and mental health.
They found that adventure and role-playing games including The Witcher can give players a sense of accomplishment, whenever they fulfil certain objectives or tasks. Puzzle games like Candy Crush, boasting more than 250 million users, are actually found stimulate our brains, raising our strategic thinking capabilities. Famous titles like Tomb Raider can also focus our attention levels, triggering visual and auditory reactions to improve hand-eye coordination. Then we have online realms like that of Minecraft, which inspires creativity, designing our very own worlds and imaginary homes.
Food for economic thought
Australia has recognized that gaming can provide many benefits, including economic growth promoted by a booming digital games industry, leading to their government introducing the Digital Games Tax Offset in 2022. Leading international gaming studios have already set up shop, including EA Games and Gameloft, while the sector continues to expand rapidly throughout the country. And the diverse range of gaming development activity is quite impressive.
This has been observed in the iGaming sector, based upon in-depth reviews covering real money casinos in Australia, especially having successfully made the online transition and offering a wide selection of popular games. Of course, playing casino games like poker and slots will always require good use of our brains, helping us to develop awareness of gambling responsibly, whilst also developing our strategic and critical thinking capabilities.
Likewise, the iGaming sector has embraced a more holistic view of development, incorporating assets and ideas from across the entertainment industry. Studios produce games that capture our imaginations and engage our brains, fed by countless niches that fuel our interest. For example, slots – or “pokies” as they’re often called in Australia – might be themed around popular sports or movies, even music and literature. Indeed, people are always more likely to engage with topics and themes they most enjoy.
Designed to engage and entertain
Plenty of thought goes into both developing and playing online games, which is inevitably why the industry has grown so rapidly over the last couple of decades. There are no longer any stigmas attached to gaming, as was initially the case prior to the internet age and the prevalence of mobile devices. These days, practically everyone is gaming in one shape or form, and this activity keeps our brains active, shaping our thoughts and reactions in various positive ways.
But while online gaming features many positives insofar as our mental health is concerned, just like any activity, moderation and time spent on gaming is always recommended. No matter the level of ease or complexity involved, always take breaks between gaming sessions, rather than staring at your computer or mobile screens for hours on end. Get some fresh air or take a walk, before diving back into the brain expanding virtual worlds you most enjoy.