The Rise of Online Gaming Culture

The rise of mobile technology in recent years has brought drastic changes in many aspects of our lives. It has revolutionized the industry and opened the doors to a new generation of gamers. Gaming has now become one of the most profitable entertainment industries in the world since its commercial birth in 1950. We can say that the virtual gaming is now stretching its legs and kicking the physical sports to stay out. It is now attracting the largest audience on the planet.

In just a few decades, we have observed dramatic changes in the video game industry, both technologically and culturally. In contrast, the only difference is the pace that is now accelerating at a magnificent rate. The gamming gained more attention in 1990 and 2000 when it became a hit online. Millions of players shifted from the real world to the digital world to play games.

The Rise of Online Gaming Culture

Gamers started building online followers from their gameplay videos. Now, the matches are taking place between the best players of famous games such as PUBG, Fortnite and League of Legends which are broadcast live to millions in the virtual stadiums where millions of viewers come to cheer their favorite gamers. In addition to that, the lockdowns due to Covid-19 have increased users’ engagement with video games and esports not only in Pakistan but across the globe. Despite the widespread economic disruption caused by a coronavirus, the video game industry is on boom globally.

According to Forbes, the esports pro athletes have been growing more than 40% annually every year since 1998. As one of the most influential and largest consumed mediums, video games accounted for a global revenue of over $137.9 billion in 2018, up by 13.3% from the previous year.

Online games are increasingly becoming popular in Pakistan as well. Many online games like League of Legends (LOL), Defense of the Ancients (DOTA), Counterstrike: Global Offensive (CS: GO), Call of Duty (COD), Medal of Honor, and more are being played competitively in different cities of the country daily. Pakistani gamers are quite competent in the gaming world today as Newzoo reported that “55% (1056 million) of the consumers of this $159.3 billion industry come from the Asia-Pacific region, which continues to boast the fastest growth of video games”

In Pakistan, KPK Government was the first one that took the initiative and recognized E-Gaming as a sport and decided to organize Pakistan’s first KP Electronic Sports tournament on 24th February 2018. It was held at Peshawar Sports Complex. The tournament attained positive response from the people of KPK. Furthermore, the KPK government has launched “Jawan Markaz” in Peshawar sports complex that is providing a concrete platform for streamlining ideas of Khyber Pakhtun Khwa youth. The platform also gives sponsorship to interested youngsters.

Recently, Federal Minister of Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry revealed in an interview that a nationallevel esports tournament, funded through private sponsorships, will be taking place in March 2021 in Islamabad. The Minister also announced a unique program of animation and video games to encourage young people, and it will make the ways easy for them to be part of the multi-billion dollar gaming industry. E-sports is not only supported by the government but due to its everincreasing popularity, the private companies are also showing interest in becoming a part of this new trend. Telenor Pakistan is also actively playing its role to promote the gaming culture in Pakistan. For this purpose, the cellular company has collaborated with Garena for Free Fire Continental Series (FFCS) 2020 and co-partnered for the Asia Series Pakistan Qualifier 2020 tournaments launched for the first time in Pakistan. Two hundred sixteen teams registered for the tournament. In 2019, Pakistan was home to an extraordinary gaming event that took place at the Expo Centre Lahore, and more than 10,000 people from all over the country came to cheer. Dew Gamers Arena, sponsored by Samsung, had an amazing array of players for DOTA 2, CS: GO, and PUBG Mobile with an amazing trophy and monetary prize of Rs. 1,000,000.

Keeping in view the craziness and enthusiasm of Pakistani players, Tencent Games, a parent company of the PUBG, also brought the grand challenge for the players. Electronic Sports Pakistan also got qualified for the World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) in China.

Experts believe that promoting the gaming culture in the country can improve the emotional and mental wellbeing of the people. It also improves mental health issues. Playing an online game provides a way to spend healthy time together with your friends and meeting new people from around the world. The latest research has shown that online games can help people to learn more quickly, develop greater mental focus, become more spatially aware, estimate more accurately, and multitask more effectively. Moreover, some video games also help young people to become more empathetic, helpful and sharing.

Online games help you develop healthy lifestyles and increase social activity. Gaming slows the ageing process, and make the participant a better decisionmaker. Online games have tremendous positive effects on our physical, psychological, and social lives. The Games like Call of Duty and Splinter Cell multi-players can help to develop friendships and bonds that will last for years. The Wii Fit allows people to adopt a better lifestyle, stay active, and motivate them to keep a check on their diet goals daily.

A researcher named Vikranth Bejjanki said that the games help kids to pay more attention by improving cognition and perception and he proved that with a few experiments. According to researchers in New Zealand video games can be used to treat mental disorders like depression.

Video Gaming has developed so many iterations played on so many platforms and devices that gaming has seeped into almost every sphere of activity. Video games have migrated from computer labs to public arcades, to home computers, to video game consoles, laptops, smartphones, and stadiums. Video games have gained enough cultural significance throughout the past decade or so, thanks in part to the rapid growth of the esports industry.

Recommended Reading: Keeping young people safe online during the hyperconnected world of a pandemic: What can parents do?

Also Read: Effects of Mobile Games on Children’s Brain

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