Recently, I was asked my thoughts on a number of gaming relation questions for a local school. I thought I would share my thoughts here as well. Would love your thoughts and comments!
How do millennials think differently about video games compared to children?
I think millennials and children think of games similarly because we all grew up with them. My generation and your generation both understand and accept video games in a way that Gen X or the Baby Boomers will never understand. We’ve never known a world without video games.
However, my generation was taught that video games are a waste of time and that you can never have a career or make money off of video games. Your generation sees it completely differently and they see all the opportunities that video games present as viable options. Jobs as streamers, video game analysis, and on-air casters were jobs that never could have sustained a career 10 years ago, but now they are viable career options.
How do adults think differently about video games compared to children?
It is tough to regulate something you don’t understand and I think that is one of the main pain points for adults. They are forced to have to regulate and enforce rules on a world they don’t understand on a scope they can never comprehend. They are unable to see through the images on the screen to understand the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that lie underneath the surface. Additionally, generally, adults associate video games with their most negative attributes, like unhealthy eating and isolationism. I think that kids now have a better understanding of the benefits and the negative results of video games in a much more balanced way. While adults see them as bad, children understand that just like anything else, video games have positive and negative attributes.
How have people’s demand of video games increased since the Video Game crash of 1983?
To be 100% honest, I had never heard of the Video Game Crash of 1983. After doing a little bit of research, it appears as though the market was flooded which led to a decrease of interest. While I don’ t know a whole lot about this specific incident, I can tell you that the way our market is set up now, there will never be a decrease of interest because there are so many games and it is so easy to get them. In 1983, only a handful of games were available and it would be months or years before another release. Now, our demand for “what’s new” is so high and so instant that you can pretty much never lose interest unless you want to.
How do you think game developers need to change video games in order to reach people’s demand?
Absolutely! If you aren’t changing and adapting, you are falling behind. People change, their interests change, and therefore games need to change as well. Two of the major shifts are “the shift to multiplayer” and the shift to “games as a service”. As computers, consoles, and the internet have got better, people have wanted to play together and against each other. While the single-player experience still exists and will always exist, the majority of the market has shifted to Multiplayer Online Battle Areas (MOBAs) like League of Legends and Dota 2 and Battle Royal like Fortnite, PubG, and Apex Legends.
One of the other shifts is in how you pay for the game. For a long time, you bought the game, maybe there was one DLC (Downloadable Content), and that was it. Now, the industry has shifted to “Games as a service” which means that they consistently pump the game full of new content, skins, etc. This extends the lifetime value of the customer and keeps people playing games for a longer period of time. The companies that have embraced these shifts have been incredibly successful and the ones that haven’t have fallen behind.
What are your thoughts on the average amount of time a person plays video games?
I think that people, mainly kids play too long. Video games are mentally draining because games are puzzles and they require critical thinking. The issue is that people don’t think of their brain as a muscle and they don’t realize that muscle needs rest. In the same way, you can’t lift biceps every day if you want to grow your biceps, you can’t game all day, every day and expect to get better. You have to rest, give your mind time to recover, and then come back to it when you are fresh. No one can be at their best forever. You have to give yourself time to recover, you have to get good sleep, and you have to have balance in your life in order to be successful. Just like putting in 10 hours of free throws in one-day isn’t going to make you a better free throw shooter, gaming for 10 hours isn’t going to make you a better gamer. The way to build a base and the mental strength required to be good at free throws or gaming is to put in one hour of good work a day over an extended period of time.
What do you think are the main causes of gaming disorder(video game addiction)?
I think there are two issues. First, people game for too long which I touch on above. The second issue is that, as a society, we’ve gone the past twenty years without anyone teaching or guiding anyone through the process of learning how to game in a healthy way. Unless you have an older sister, brother, or parent who is a gamer, most people are figuring out for themselves. Much of the time, parents abandon their responsibilities by not learning about the games their kids love. If your kid plays the tuba, you learn about the tuba. If your kid plays soccer, you learn about soccer. However, when it comes to games, most parents just throw up their hands and say “games are bad” and it is a failure on their part. Kids are like puppies, they eat off the floor, they put their hands in places where they shouldn’t and generally, we have to educate kids not to hurt themselves. The same goes for video games. We have to teach kids not to game too long, to rest, to recover, and yet, parents continuously shirk their responsibilities to regulate their kids because they don’t understand gaming. But, that is not on the kid. That is on the parent. So, if a kid has a “gaming disorder” (which btw I question the validity of this even though the WHO says it is a thing) generally it is because the parent failed to educate or regulate their kid until its too late.