Reality Check - Could Gaming Level-up your Social Life?
Reality Check delves into some new scientific research which confirms gaming can supplement and even improve your social life!
by Sarah Lynch on
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Flex those mental muscles and join Cam Robinson on a journey of discovery in Reality Check, the show that investigates the science behind your favourite games, and spawns a few wild theories of its own.
Schedule: Thursdays at 12pm PT
Host: Cameron Robinson
I highly agree with that, playing video games is one of the most enjoyable ways to bond with people.
Um, that study is a piece of shit. If they're finding 100% of their sample at social events like LAN parties and pub nights, they're obviously going to conclude that gamers are all sociable. I'm a very sociable guy, but like most gamers, my gaming habit is mostly anti-social.
I would say that at least from experience, most 1hr+ a day gamers are reclusive, the sociable gamer you meet at Loading Bar is a rare breed.
I love a good LAN party. I don't like to think I'm anti-social, I just think I'm terrible at small talk.
Thanks for another great episode, Cam. It's nice to know society hasn't written us all off as social-lepers, even if it is full of self-important morons. ;oP
I don't know. I feel the image certain groups might have of gamers has less to do with not being social than with not adhering to how 'social' is generally defined by these groups. I consider myself a social person, but I only have a few close friends, since I don't mind being on my own and I prefer to focus on building lasting and meaningful friendships. I feel I am an open, considerate and respectful person towards people in general. And yet, I get the feeling some people label me as not social, since I have very few casual friends and I don't go out much. Not that the same applies to gamers in general, but I think there's a difference between actual social behaviour and what people value in social behaviour.
I actually rarely socialize with people online in gaming, I tend to find that even when I am "on the same team" as people that I ether get negative reactions or people (usually guys) trying to unwantedly flirt with me.
however even though I am an avid gamer I don't have any problems at all socializing with people offline when I want to, I do find though that I keep my gaming life & offline life quite detached though because of this social feedback I get from people online, to be honest I wish that I did have some friends that actually played games who I could LAN etc with but it seems that the fun has slipped past me lol
Cam, I greatly enjoy this series as it's refreshing to see gaming-related info that draws on actual science and research.
I tire of the "my 'console' is bigger than yours" articles and appreciate a well-written and researched segment.
Like I said when this study was reported by gaming news sites, this isn't a big enough pool. It depends on the genre chosen and of course MMOs are going to show more social trends because that's the point of MMOs and LAN parties. It's like the equivalent of studying athletes and then looking just at golf players.
This study is equal to any kind of gaming stidy be it poker or DnD. All games that is not single player requires associating with others of like mind. Be it casual, hardcore or in between. We all share a love for the same thing like car fans at car shows and what not. I live in a dead end town and I would love to hang with gamers. I am sure if I met some at a convention I could hook up with some to go gaming with easily. As it is I am probably a 'loner' classed because my town is so damn small I have to which I can even speak about games without eyes rolling.
Not all gamers are anti-social basement dwellers, but they are out there. I hate to see this become an excuse not to socialize with others outside of video games, because not everyone can talk about video games all day.
Although, since online gaming, it has opened up new opportunities, regularly talking to other people from around the world, connecting us. That I think is amazing, something I didn't exactly grow up with.
Its all up to the individual, not a group.
Its funny reading some of the stories on here, because you wouldn't expect people to actually use games as a social medium. I myself have my own good friends from high school to game with, but unexpectedly found some good ones in a pre-guild leading up to a FFXIVs release. Known them for almost a year now and we check up on each other. I would have never thought to find good people through the love of games!
Anywho I would encourage people, if too timid or nervous to be social in public, to at least brush their social skills in gaming. It doesnt hurt to try!
The internet has transformed today's people into such un-social animals it's downright disheartening and disgusting.
Whether you are an average MMO or online shooter player, a hardcore gamer, or someone who simply sits around facebook and twitter all day: people simply stopped being a social.
You will find it incredibly hard to make real new friends, since the majority of people will sum up their friendship and communication by a message in whatsapp, a like in facebook, or a few words exchanged in the 15 minutes break between classes.
I have experienced this in person so many times in recent years, it's just ridiculous:
I recently started an evening IT course in a small class. 3 of us students hooked up together and we usually spend the breaks chatting. However, when I tried to talk them into going out to hang out together, or invite someone to my place: one of them said: "well maybe, message me in whatsapp sometime".
That was so absurd I didn't know whether to laugh or feel sad lol.
I also was studying in the University and was in good contact with a few guys there in totally different courses and subjects. Unfortunally this year I couldn't sign into my 2nd year for personal reasons. Well not surprising: non of the guys I considered as collegues - people whom I met every day, bothered to call or even contact me online to check up on me.
Don't get me wrong, I am not devastated or shocked by this, its just disheartening that our society became so obnoxiously closed and apathetic.
And I know others who feel the same as myself.
People simply don't hang out as much as they used to, they are not inclined to visit friends or invite friends to their homes. They barely have the mental will to make new friends or see friends. It's a new level of selfishness.
I don't think gamers are anti-social people, I just think that online remote and rare communication is not enough.
How many times have you seen you casual online "friend" checking up on you? or inviting you to do something outside of gaming?
Fortunately for me, I play Ice and Inline hockey, and I think sports, no matter the age differences, especially team sports: is a great platform to stay social and friendly.
Still - the communication usually ends up there - thanks to the internet - in fact instead of using the internet and mobile communication to stay social - people use it to stay away.
Enjoyed this episode. I have a nice active social life because I put equal time into offline and online interaction. It's like life in general, the key is balance.
That being said I struggle to find good, mature online players who I can game with. So that being said would anyone like to game with me sometime?
Steam - oliverc12345
PSN - ragingwolf92 (don't ask)
LAN parties, guild meet ups and internet cafes are easy to establish a social life because its a common interest and you feel comfortable around them. in my opinion, this was not new to me.
I thought this was going to be about how gaming is building confidence in other social life situations outside of the gaming community as in, entering a social environment that has nothing to do with gaming. for instance, socializing with your buddies college friends you've never met or interacting with classmates etc.
now, I will agree that there may be ppl out there that are very closed off and socializing with guild mates can potentially give them the courage to step out of their comfort zone and meet there guild mates and potentially establish a new friendship.
I was very social when I gamed on PC. A great game, dedicated servers, and a healthy online community makes everyone want to play together and establish friendships. Console games with their match making shinanigans makes it tougher to be social, also no keyboard.
im a loner, people actually like me and i don't have any problems making friends at all. but they just bore me, i'm the one that ends up rejecting society and not the other way around, i try to socialize but people just pisses me off. its weird, my dad was like that also. am i sociopath? >.>
Sorry to be rude but a UNIVERSITY experiment is not science especially when comes down to essentially a bunch or surveys that are probably answered by other students.
New's flash!... Gaming is accepted in universities and can improve your social life if you actively want it to while at university or if you are in your late teen's or early twenties.
Once you leave college or university and your in your late twenties or older... Gaming won't level up a f***ing thing.
I have played games for over 9 years and now i am 21 years old, im fat, i am a virgin, i have never had a girlfriend or a close friend. The last time i had a friend was over 4 years ago when i was in school. I dont really see how gaming improved my social life. I try to go outside and make some acquintances, to get friends, but people always giving me a wild look and dont even want to talk to me. I am so sad that everyday i think of suicide. Anybody has the same, i wonder?
Well I actually am a loner irl, I do have friends and close friends, but I find myself very different from them.
However gaming did help me make friends online, friends who understand me a lot better.
I can say though gaming helped me improve my English and my art, which both help me communicate better irl :P
A few years ago i joined a COD4 clan because i always played on the same server, which was theirs. More people joined as time went by. Some of which were Dutch, like me. After the clan was broken up we kept playing together. After a year or 2 we organized a few lan parties at our houses. We got to know each other better while having lots of fun. After that we went to each others birthday parties, helped each other move and last year we even went to Mexico together for our holidays with our families. We're not just online buddies anymore, we're friends.
Gamers are conceived as anti-social because they sit behind a screen and talk into a microphone. People forget that there's other people on the other side of the line. Is a phonecall not social? Besides, we dont just interact with our friends, but also with strangers. How many strangers do you talk to on the street? Gamers anti-social? I think not..
I started gaming for actually the opposite reason, to have the time for myself without people bothering or interacting with me while taking a break from reality. As more and more games are going online and wanting you to play more with others while becoming realistic, games I want to play are becoming more difficult to find.
I have a group of friends i play xbox with everyday some times none of use are playing the same game where just talking about random stuff and whats going on in the games we are playing.
Some of them are friends i made back in highschool in the Halo 2 days and we still play everyday and they live all over the place.
@jonny_dutch Not sure about it being a piece of shit, but your critique is spot-on. Their sample was already biased.
@loafofgame I'm right there with you, my friend.
@TimberWolf_CLT MY console is bigger than yours..
@SphinxDemon You can meet friends of friends through Minecraft! Been there.
@GunEye It is true that remote message has allowed people to become more reclusive and less caring about in-person social interaction, but the study showed (I think) that the non-social shut-ins are not most made up of gamers. People who invest in their digital communities can form lasting relationships, but people who sit on the sidelines will not grow socially, just as it has always been.
@kitmeep This is "social science" don't worry most scientists hate social science as well.
Unless it is grounded in the physical the amount of actual useful data that can come out of it starts to become shaky. Ever heard something in a magazine about how a certain diet can help this ailment or help you lose fat from just your abdomen? That is because diet is the most wishy washy and least understood area of science ever because it is practiced by everyone not just scientists.
Food is easy to understand but Biology isn't. So magazines might say crap like you have to drink X litres of water a day but in fact it is complete crap.
Social science is the same idea. A small group of people tested might yield one result and another group might yield another result all together. The conclusion is that the results are largely unrepeatable and the reliability ends up in the toilet.
I'll stick to making stuff in the lab personally. At least then you can test if your experiment worked in a reliable way.
Maybe you don't really have any interest in science beyond how much it can amuse you in the first place. :/
@Zidaneski yeah i kinda get what you are saying but nowadays people use mic to speak with the community
@Dragerdeifrit If you are then I am too. Maybe I'll see you in therapy.
@kankermohhol If you think people don't like you then screw them. People who can judge someone without even getting to know them are not worth your time. I have had issues socializing. I am still a kid but I have always been shy. My social skills used to be pretty bad i would supposedly "hug the wall" when i felt awkward. But I just had to step out of my comfort zone and talk to people. Now some of those people are my best friends. Now this is probably totally different from your situation and I am just a kid. But what people say or think about you does not define who you are. Its not easy to socialize but I guarantee there are people just like you.
@kankermohhol Just keep trying, man. Someday you'll find someone that isn't as judgemental and is weird enough like you that you both seem normal to each other. Your life has barely begun at 21. Every serious relationship I've had and every friend I've made that I'm still friends with now happened after 21. Just keep trying to talk to people. The easiest way to learn to be social is to be social. And I say this as an anti-social person that is almost completely lacking in social skills.
Whatever you do don't give up. If you're fat and don't like that you're fat then look into doing some exercise to lose weight. If you're fat and you're comfortable with that then don't bother. Be who you want to be and screw everyone else if they can't handle how awesome you are. Clearly they aren't worth your time.
@kankermohhol Did the friendship end because school was over? Look them up to ask how're they doing.
@meedokicky im reading my own story right there. even the english and Art part lol XD guess i'm not the only one eh?
@Talis12 That's awesome! I've met several people via internet forums (well not in person), but we are all very close friends, and I even send birthday and Christmas presents to two of them. It's a special connection, not just "some stranger on the internet". I'm also in a clan, and I've actually met one of the members. Sure he was twice my age, but he was an amazing dude, and we're even having a big meet up this summer (the clan had one last summer as well). It's a wondrous age...and it's very exciting that we are some of the first to experience this type of connection first hand.
@amdreallyfast @GunEye and yet most hardcore gamers consider single player the way to go. Of course that doesn't mean too much. Many MP games are involved playing for hours with random players not knowing their real names or backgrounds.
I really love the discussion and social activity here on Gamespot. I kind of wish that Gamespot would change their site into some kind of Gaming Social Network - and allow better connection between users - such as group chats and stuff.
Might sounds silly to you, but the "follow" on gamespot isn't as good as "friends" in steam or something, and it would have been nice if Gamespot would help keeping online social connections.
Anyway, I agree with what you said. What can we do huh? perhaps in the US it's different, but I play my games with people from across the globe. I live in Israel, and I don't do gaming with people from my country. So I can't really hang out with them.
Gamers aside: "reclusive" is the word I was looking for to describe our lousy new society.
Indeed, you would stick to experiments in labs.
(Little wonder why there is a stereotype for lab workers too.)
@Gelugon_baat @kitmeep Social Science is not science. Science is reliable and ultimately repeatable. Social science normally ends up yielding a different result every time an experiment is conducted. Basically you need to test the entire population of the planet simultaneously to even have a chance of understanding it in full and that is impossible to do.
To put that in perspective at my University there are three buildings for the core sciences. Biology, Chemistry, Physics. Each of them is at least six floors and several basement levels. Chocked full of expensive equipment and chemicals that would likely cause permanent disfigurement and lasers that would definitely cause burns.
The social science block is smaller than any one of the single science buildings and has a tiny fraction of the budget. Not because it isn't worthy but because it doesn't yield the results.
@Dragerdeifrit guess not :]
what kind of art do you do? I do drawing and some primitive 3D modeling.
@ParanoidPaal Our clan consisted of peoples age ranging from 16 to 50+. Im still in contact with a lot of people ive met during gaming and forums, The only problem is that most of them live in other countries and you cant just visit them on the weekends. We keep in thouch on Steam, Ventrilo and Facebook but whenever one of us visits anothers country we still meet up. One of our clan members is from Sweden and did a Europe tour, when he came to Holland i showed him and his buddy around Amsterdam and he crashed on my couch for the weekend to save some money.
Meet-ups and lan parties are awesome ways to connect and make new friends. Make the connection you have with them even stronger. Definitely meet up with them on the summer ParanoidPaal, only good can come out of it.
Yet there is one block for the social science field in your university anyway, despite your assertion.
Also, it does not "yield the results" because it is ill-understood - just like biology, chemistry and physics were when they were still nascent.
Perhaps you have too much disdain for social science.
@Dannystaples14 @Gelugon_baat@kitmeepLol. Reminds me of what Sheldon thinks of Geology. Sosiology is interesting though -the reasons why masses behave the way they do- and the theory of memes being a form of virus.