Share the Knowledge session
‘Video Game Culture’ by Carl Holderness
I am passionate about video games – there I said it. However, being classified as a ‘gamer’ can have a very stereotypical and dated suggestion, but I believe this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a very vibrant and social community that is passionate, imaginative, creative, and in a thriving industry sector despite an uncertain economic climate. For my ‘Share the Knowledge’ talk I looked into the question, in 2016, who are video games for?
In 2016 are video games for… men?
Surprisingly, many statistics now show around a 1:1 ratio of male to female gamers, and in some countries there are more female than men gamers. Although gender diversity is a hot topic in the industry, I personally believe we are progressing in the right direction, whether you are a gamer or creator.
In 2016 are video games for… single players?
The social side of gaming in recent years has come on leaps and bounds. Once exclusive conferences, such as E3 and Gamescom, are now public and attracting thousands of visitors and millions of viewers online. Multiplayer goes beyond 2 players on a single machine, and now hundreds, if not thousands, can share the same game online in real time. Like sport, gaming can be competitive – whether you’re playing against the best in the world at championships, or watching on the sidelines through streaming services such as Twitch or Youtube Gaming. Smartphones also invigorated the gaming industry by making them instantly accessible to millions in the palm of your hand, integrated with social network websites to play with friends on the latest #trend topping game.
Smaller local pop-up events are now also a popular way to meet new gamers, having been to a few myself, such as iPlayGaming, the reception is always welcoming. I would liken sharing a common interest in genre of games to finding out someone supports the same football team – you reminisce and discuss favourite characters and events, and talk about the future releases and fan made content.
In 2016 are video games for… mindless people?
Storytelling, imaginative environments, and depth of character are now crucial to a successful game, and like the literature, music or film industry, there are genres and sub-genres of video games, some I myself have never heard of. Gaming requires attention and focus. Games such as Luminosity claim to improve cognitive functions and improve your wellbeing, whilst projects like Eterna uses the concept of a puzzle game to design compounds to advance research in molecular medicine.
So, “In 2016, who are video games for?”
I believe they are for everyone. Game over.
Carl Holderness, Designer.