By Muhammed Aqib T P
With hobby sites and forums having absolutely little to no functionality beyond text posting, social media platforms breaking patterns and rambling, now offers features farraginous of all sorts starting from monetization to live streaming, broadening horizons for social interactions to a level unimaginable. Undeniably, online gaming evolved apace with social media. With its artistically rendered virtual interaction, potential to capture ceaseless imaginations of youngsters, and with an excellent growth opportunity, the gaming industry grew on to new frontiers. Unlike the times when gaming industry merely served a niche market, it now brings together gaming and socialising in a way unlike before, giving grounds to rise of the next new social media. Gone are the days when voice-chat feature remained a far-off dream and when games were meant to be played effectively with bare text chat or nothing at all. In contrast to the traditional, solitary and antisocial gaming, multiplayer games like Fortnite and game-creation platform Roblox, transcends the gaming environment with its highly social environments, encouraging collaboration, conversation and real-life connections. Online games like Roblox, Minecraft, Animal Jam and so many more not only have quests you can embark on together, but also rooms you can customize and characters you can become. With Discord gathering hundreds of millions of users who use its text and voice chat features to connect with gaming communities all over the world, voice chat marks its spot in the core part of the gaming experience.
These days, you probably don’t see too many of your friends posting about their Farmville estates on Facebook any more. As the younger set have largely moved away from the platform to more eye-catching and smartphone-savvy platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok, many of the popular games of years gone by have faded into memory. However, that doesn’t mean that the new generation of phone-obsessed younger millennials and Gen Z kids has given up on online gaming. Talk to any 12 year old and you’re bound to find out tons of information about their Fortnite character skin, their Minecraft dungeon, or their Animal Crossing town, and that’s not to say that these viral games are restricted to adolescents; tons of adults regularly enjoy gaming with games like the ones mentioned.
In today’s digital age, gaming is all the more immersive, engaging and a viable way of networking and community building and with connectivity in-home and on the go, players stay connected to their games and their friends regardless of time and location. The soaring innovations have given way for players to uncover more realistic and fully immersive simulations on screens and lenses, and with online socio-gaming now setting benchmarks, the world is still only learning just how influential gaming really is. Fostering online communications and engagement, a lot of the existing apps focus on connecting strangers and providing them with an opportunity to socialise; a platform to connect, hear and be heard all the while battling. With Socially immersive and interactive gameplays, the virtual world gives gamers brand new and a diverse community to engage, making it a much fuller and more meaningful interactive internet marketplace. Social media having fallen to the wayside, online gaming companies now have monopolized social media group interaction. From giant triple-A titles to crowdfunded indie games all have communities much stronger and deeper, creating movements even beyond the gaming world. The rapid spread of digital platforms, the massive phenomenon of streaming, the growing popularity and accelerated rise of esports, have reinvented the gaming landscapes, and with new game genres emerging every now and then new monetisation models are forthcoming.
India being a talent hub, along with the spike in digital adoption during the pandemic, and availability of cheaper, faster and better internet quality, Indians have access to better games now than ever. With over 300 million user base, increased time spent and monetisation, mobile gaming is said to triple to a $5 billion market opportunity by 2025, and with metaverse now taking the world by storm, a crossover of the same would downright be sheer ethereal experience.
The author is CEO of WAFA – Voice Centric Platform. Views expressed are personal.