If there’s one thing that Destiny proves, it’s that multiplayer games are here to stay. That’s especially true of those that grow into having massive online communities, much like Destiny has done and will continue to do as long as people (like me) are hooked on it. This is a bit of a new(ish) trend for console gamers, though anyone who’s played on a PC knows these types of communities have been around for quite a while.
Be that as it may, there is another trend that has coincided with the rise of playing on the web on your console—the individuals within these communities doing truly great work. Just look at the wonderful things done by Extra Life, an initiative I wrote about earlier this year that aims to save lives through gaming. Essentially, it asks gamers to raise money that’s then donated to their local children’s hospital—and more than $5.5 million has been collected to date. Amazing.
Another charity doing truly moving work is Child’s Play. Just like with Extra Life, gamers are encouraged to raise money for children’s hospitals and the kids receiving treatment there. Last year, they were able to raise $7.6 million, with the money going toward buying consoles, games, and accessories for hospitals and care facilities. As their site says, Child’s Play hopes to provide a “vital distraction from an otherwise generally unpleasant experience” for the kids, who get to play age-appropriate games with their peers, friends, and loved ones.
Beyond the notable contributions to charities, these communities are also making the act of gaming feel more social as a whole. This is evident on any of the current generation’s consoles, be it the PS4, Wii U, or Xbox One, all of which stress playing together. As mentioned, that is a huge part of what makes Destiny so much fun, though just as entertaining is getting involved with your fellow gamers.
In addition to doing so while actually playing, Sony encourages its users to chat with each other in its PlayStation Forums. Message boards are obviously nothing new—one could argue they helped shape the Internet as a global forum itself—but they have become an essential part of shaping the full gaming experience as we know it. You can foster relationships (personal and otherwise), egg on your potential opponents, or simply show off how well you’ve been playing with like-minded people across the globe.
This is also stressed at Betfair, a gaming platform that is home to a variety of games. Players are encouraged to communicate with and get to know one another and it’s all done through their community page. It’s filled with hilarious tweets boasting silly gifs and memes; a chatroom where you need to be up on the latest lingo; and inviting profiles from some of the moderators you’ll run into while playing. It all helps to build what is basically a web-based version of the fun-filled, community-oriented atmosphere so many of us associate with bingo, whether we played it as kids or joined our elders for a game here and there.
No matter what kind of game you enjoy, it appears that doing so alone isn’t quite like what it used to be—you know, the old stereotype of loners who never interact with each other. We’re all more connected than ever, be it through social media, message boards, and, yes, communities tied to the games we love to play.