Why Gaming Is Important

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It’s time for an already blatantly obvious confession: I’m an avid gamer.

This won’t be a surprise to many of you, who will have already guessed my gaming proclivities based on the virtues of my paleness, antisocial nature and propensity to see myself as the protagonist of any social interaction.

But what if I told you that instead of my gaming habits being an idle pastime I’m indulging in whilst conducting a slow march to the grave, they're actually in service of a higher, one might say noble, purpose.

Well, you’d probably almost immediately retort that I am compensating or outright lying, but this blog exists to convince you of my viewpoint.

You see, gaming isn’t just one of the two things you do at 3am that you know you shouldn’t be doing. It’s actually: 

How, you ask?

Gaming pushes technological innovation

Gaming is by far the most interacted with visual medium there has ever been and probably ever will be. 

There are roughly 3.2 billion gamers out there, comprising about 42% of the total global population. To put that into context, there's about 1.46 billion iPhone users in the world, which highlights just how big of a vertical gaming really is.

Because of this total addressable market, some of the largest corporations in the world as well as the most disruptive minds in technology are pouring billions of dollars and an equal weight in sweat to weave worlds within gaming. 

This pixelated pseudo arms race means that gaming is often the epicentre of wider technological trends.

For example, a side effect of the neverending push for graphical fidelity in video games is powering the AI revolution.

Graphical processing units (which undergo incredibly fast cycles of innovation due to the lucrative applications in gaming hardware) were tangentially found to be amazing at helping develop LLMs, and are the reason we are able to create scalable, consumer AI applications. 

Another example of this phenomenon of gaming driving tech forward is the simulacra of virtual reality. 7 out of 10 VR users cite games as their primary use case, and the virtual reality market is likely to be worth $165.91 billion by 2030, with both Apple and Meta placing large bets on the future of the medium. 

On a more philosophical level, they’re building an entire new reality, how cool is that?! A virtual one! Where I can be someone my parents are actually proud of! Because of gaming! 

It’s an absolutely insane challenge and it’s being powered by humanity's wish to get their hands on some sweet sweet games.

Gaming furthers social connection through technology

Gaming is one of the last bastions of hope, being the only non-functional communication technology. 

By non-functional, I mean that it serves no executive purpose, and connects users with the only intent being for those users to have fun together (mostly, just let me dream people).

Contrary to stereotypes, gamers are surprisingly social, with 54% of the most frequent gamers playing with others, and 53% self-reporting that video games help them connect with friends.

During the pandemic, when vast swathes of humanity were confined indoors, gaming stood as one of the only ways for people to connect and bond with each other. 

Whether you agree with it or not, through gaming, individuals have found lifelong friends, met soulmates and coped with loss and isolation by meeting people with a shared mission and interest. In fact, 82 percent of US gamers stated that video games had introduced them to new friendships.

I know this first hand. My relationship with one of my dearest and closest friends was forged in the fires of virtual battle (an incredibly weird way to say I sat on the couch and ate Doritos whilst breathing heavily into a headset and experiencing repeated cyberdeath), and I’m intensely grateful to the medium for that connection.

In this sense, gaming is the most distilled version of what tech should be about: connecting people and bettering their lives.

But why are we so drawn to gaming as a species?

Gaming intersects art and tech

“It is in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough—it's technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.”

That’s a Steve Jobs quote about the little glass brick in your pocket that is beaming depression into your cerebral cortex.

Now watch this:

I posit that gaming is the most pure expression of what Steve was talking about. You’ll never get the feeling you did from the above video through interacting with a great piece of B2B software. 

At its core, gaming is about applying technology in a way to make you feel something, and that’s just bloody beautiful when you think about it. 

It gives me an epic sense of destiny to think about the millions and millions of hours put into making our most advanced machines not into centres of profit, but instruments to make strangers' hearts sing.

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