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COVID and the Online Gaming Community

COVID and the Online Gaming Community

Did you know that roughly 2.8 billion people play online video games every day? In the United States, up to 75% of households at have least one gamer.

To those unfamiliar with the concept, most online games put players into teams that must cooperate to defeat other teams or to achieve an objective. Gamers typically wear headsets and microphones so they can talk with each other in real-time.

As noted by Swiss entrepreneur Natalia Sokolova, online gaming provides a unique socialization opportunity that is more important now than ever before. Sokolova recently founded Skinz, a healthcare and jobs platform designed to address the specific needs of the gaming community.

“Since we are professionally connected with an industry that has 2.6 billion participants and many of them are facing pain and discomfort caused by rapid movements and prolonged gaming/training sessions, we saw a tremendous opportunity to help millions by finding products that really work,” writes Sokolova.

“My ultimate goal is to have a footprint in creating a borderless world with access to the best medicine, education, and communications from the poorest places on Earth to the most developed countries.”

Speaking last month during a Lead India webinar, Sokolova described the imminent shift in education as schools and universities adopt virtual teaching methods. Online classes must be “gameified” to make learning more interesting and engaging, at least for younger students, explains Sokolova. 

This transition will expose billions of people to the concept of online gaming. If schools remain closed, continues Sokolova, every student will become a gamer. We must consider the potential health concerns created by this shift now, before education merges with gaming.

Some facts you didn’t know about online gaming:

  • An estimated 46 million gamers have disabilities
  • Gaming has been shown to help improve the symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and chronic pain
  • Most gamers are between the ages of 35 and 44
  • Nearly 50% of parents say they sometimes participate in online gaming with their children
  • The demand for eSports talent is expected to create 2 million jobs over the next decade
  • Online gaming is worth an estimated $160 billion and has grown nearly 75% during the pandemic
  • COVID is expected to spur a 20% increase in the number of people who play games on their phones 
  • Some universities already have eSports teams or offer scholarships to gamers

To gain a better perspective, I spoke with my gamer friend Chris about his experiences during the pandemic.

He told me he plays online with his “real life” friends almost every day. “Seeing as I can’t see my usual friends most of the time…I do play a lot with Deanna, just about every day [and] I’ve actually made some new friends.”

Chris lives with his wife and 8-year-old daughter, but still manages to spends between six and seven hours per day gaming. “You know me, I’m addicted to games. If it weren’t for the baby I’d probably play 24/7,” he said. Chris is currently playing Nioh 2, Darksiders Genesis, and Dark Souls.

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