Millions of very different people the world over are sharing in an online gaming existence that makes a statement about the often insular nature of modern society.
Online gaming is involving millions of people worldwide, not only for entertainment but for a sense of belonging. U.S. research company, Parks Associates, has found that millions of people are involving themselves in MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing gaming) in unprecedented numbers. Parks’ says “Today’s gamers, like their predecessors, participate in gaming for not only individual entertainment but also for community belonging.
Parks Associates estimates that in late 2005 there were two million online console gamers, 3.5 million MMOG gamers, seven million home LAN gamers, and 15 million casual multiplayer Internet gamers in the United States alone.
World of Warcraft has topped the online gaming stakes with what has been speculated as five million subscribers worldwide. Blizzard, the publisher of World of Warcraft says that “It has quickly become the world’s most popular MMORPG and has surpassed five million customers worldwide”. Blizzard is said to generate an estimated $30 million a month in revenue. The popularity of these fantasy-style games and themes is clearly a statement about the insular nature of modern life.
War of Warcraft describes part of the enchanted virtually world inhabited by millions: “Between Duskwood and the Swamp of Sorrows lies the desolate region of Deadwind Pass, where jagged, brooding spires of granite loom over petrified, lifeless forests. As its name suggests, it is a land devoid of life.”
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It’s not just the younger generation that is signing into online gaming. People from all walks of life are getting involved in interactive video game use. Parks’ said “Although many industry pundits still question statistics indicating that a large percentage of gamers are women in their late thirties or even forties, Websites such as Pogo.com and Yahoo! games are attracting gamers of all ages and genders. Club Pogo, EA’s subscription service for casual Web games, has signed up more than one million paying subscribers, each paying $5 a month. EA says that 75 percent of subscribers are women”.
Internet video interaction is not the only form of the medium. “Online gaming has migrated onto other platforms including game consoles, portable game players, and even cellular phones,” says Parks’. “Microsoft has been a leader in the online console space. Its Xbox Live service provides a unified interface and experience for its subscribers and has attracted more than two million paying subscribers. The cellular phone platform, traditionally regarded as an inferior platform for serious gaming, is getting a boost from 3D graphics and next generation cellular networks. Companies such as Qualcomm, NVIDIA, and Nokia have plans to promote multiplayer mobile gaming that features excellent graphics and online support”.