We need a new term for video games

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Everyone’s trying to get us out – or stay – and play. Seriously. Peloton, Netflix, Zoom, TikTok, Amazon, Apple and Google are experimenting or going much further in video games.

What is going on?

The simple answer is that people around the world are already spending a lot of time and money on video games, and established game companies and newcomers are considering all kinds of interactive digital experiences to save more time and money. ‘silver.

I am excited about this development, even though my own passionate video game came to an end in the era of BrickBreaker for the Blackberry. It’s like we are re-imagining both what a ‘video game’ is and what idle time online can be – more engaging and social, perhaps, and a little less passive. doomscrolling. (Or maybe I read too much about it. Yeah, maybe it’s just about the money.)

Whatever the motivation, games may soon seem essential. New features on Zoom – yes, this Zoom – include poker, trivia and mystery games. Peloton, the maker of $ 2,500 exercise bikes, is launching a game that allows the power of people’s pedal to control a rolling virtual wheel. Netflix confirmed this week its intention to add video games to its online entertainment service. Facebook, TIC Tac, Amazon, Apple and Google to varying degrees, we offer video games or sell game subscriptions. (The New York Times goes further in digital games and puzzles too.)

Video games are a big business that got even bigger during the coronavirus pandemic, so it’s no surprise that more and more companies want to join in on the action. A recent report of Accenture estimated that global sales related to games are greater than the combined revenue from movies and music. These figures include sales of conventional video games for computers and consoles, games for smartphones, advertising in games and more. Video games also have cultural significance, as Olympic organizers showed this week by presenting game music at the opening ceremony.

We may actually need to change our terminology as many new digital games are different from how we might traditionally define and imagine video games – those cinematic worlds of PlayStation or Xbox.

Just as smartphones have introduced us to simpler games that capitalized on unique features of phones like gyroscopes and on-the-go internet connections, many newer games blur the lines between video games and other types of social activity. . Pokémon Go, Fortnite, and Among Us are video games, but they’re also hangouts for friends, pop culture moments, political organization opportunities, and more.

What’s exciting about many of the new gaming experiences is that they signal a move beyond a phase in which online and smartphone media often mirrored what had happened before – many podcasts were like talk shows, Netflix was like television, and online media was like newspapers.

I know not all games are empowering models of human social connection, but I feel like something exciting is going on. There is more of a rush to come up with new digital forms that emphasize interaction rather than passive reading, observing or listening.

We’re going to have more sophisticated, cutting-edge games and more stuff that doesn’t fit the video game box to challenge our minds, bodies, and social interactions. I am intrigued to see everything.


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