Computer games have come a long way since I first played Castle Wolfenstein on a Commodore 64 at my best friend’s place.
As computing power advanced along with online access, gaming became more interactive but it was only once the Millennial (born 1982-2004) generation joined in on the fun that gaming truly became a team sport.
This recent article in the New York Times outlines how gaming is transforming into a sport much like Major League Baseball or Football. Teams. Groups of young men compete both online and in massive live events for large purses. They live in houses provided by sponsors and practice constantly. It’s becoming a very lucrative market and may be the Millennial answer to traditional team sports.
While it would be easy to ascribe these changes to the effects of more powerful technology and networking capability, it’s the nature of the generations using the technology that defines their popularity. [Gen X] gamers tended to be more solitary, playing tames that pitted individuals against each other. Only more recently has the mass team phenomenon come about (I commented briefly on this shift back in 2009) and it seems to really be gathering steam now that Millennials are directing the action. The NYTimes article mentions that a majority of the gamers and audience are under 30, making them mostly Millennial.
Although the article doesn’t speculate much about the future direction for the gaming industry, one possible scenario is that it ends up rivaling “meatspace” sports for the Millennials. Franchises could pop up with persistent fan followings which could be regionalized even though the games are played online. Are the Portland HipstersTM going to be the next dominant name in Dota 2? Amazon’s purchase of Twitch TV certainly says that the industry is taking the possibility seriously, and it all lines up well with the virtual utopia that the Millennials seem to headed towards…
5 thoughts on “Gaming, Millennial Style”
I’m the Nintendo wave and I recall playing even Sega solitary. Gaming was my thing compared to even playing in a team of them. Remember back in the Xer youth who could remember how these gamers would be viewed by others?
Angelo – great points. X’er gamers were outcasts, now it is the accepted norm.
Outcasts after all that ATARI. By the time Nintendo came it seemed more acceptable and of course my wave was being molded like Millennials by my time. Games were more popular but were individual play. Remember arcades?
A noteworthy piece, thank-you from a huge gaming fan!.
Dave: have you noticed how gaming with Homelanders is like compared to Millennials and Xers for the matter? I’ve sensed that the games for Homelanders and was told they were less entertainment than education for these types. They won’t play the shooting games Xers did, If team action, not the World of Warcraft action the Millennials did but more basic by Protective parents. Homeland gamers would at soft theme games like education sports, friendly story themes with more find the missing rather that top gun shooting or watercraft team planning. Homelands could play self directed 1 player to a team of individuals crafting the same innocent story. Agree