SUPERJUMP
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SUPERJUMP

Video Games vs Everything

Netflix, Instagram, and YouTube — anything that demands your attention — are competitors too

Worldwide pandemics are objectively bad. Period. (Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Visit cdc.gov or who.int for more information). But we’d be remiss if we failed to recognize that this nightmare of a year has springboarded some lucky sectors into an unexpected wealth of opportunities. One such sector being gaming, and in the modern age of online consumption where everything is battling for your attention, video games are competing with more “mainstream” avenues for engagement whose sole focus is to hold onto your attention. The all-knowing algorithmic feeds of Netflix, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, and others have based their business model on grasping your attention and clinging to it for as long as possible.

But even despite this, in 2020 games have thrived. Sales are through the roof and Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg recognized that gaming activity is up 75%. Although the pandemic has certainly exaggerated this tendency, the trend has been ongoing to some degree since the inception of games. For a medium that isn’t actively seeking your attention, at least no more so than any other entertainment medium, it’s impressive that videogames are able to garner the attention of so many despite the key disadvantage that games seek first to entertain, regardless of time spent.

In the face of the resounding success of the industry this year, a game has bubbled to the surface as the ultimate example of success at this time. In a world of online videoconferencing and virtual happy hours, a game that benefits from face-to-face calls was the perfect fit for casual and hardcore gamers alike to latch onto. That lucky game was Among Us, and following massive exposure from some of the biggest gaming personalities on YouTube and Twitch, it exploded seemingly overnight into the beast we know today. This shines as yet another example of a videogame that has completely captured the attention of the world. Something that, on paper, is becoming increasingly more difficult, but somehow videogames continue to make it work, and they’re doing it far more than they ever were before.

gamers sitting on a couch
Cottonbro via Pexels.

Many of us take for granted the simple fact that games like Minecraft and Fortnite are as integrated into popular culture as the Kardashians. And some would argue (and I think most would hope) that these games have surpassed the throng of reality show stars. But it wasn’t always this way. Not long ago, gamers were all seen as Mountain Dew sipping, McDonald’s eating, parents-basement-dwelling, walking (but more likely sitting) stereotypes. No matter the truth behind it, videogames weren’t in the mainstream. Parents were telling their children that videogames were bad for them, horrified when they saw the contents of what they were playing. Although this hasn’t been completely eradicated, the fact that kids can go to the store and easily find Fortnite-branded Monopoly (weird, huh) shows the state of where videogames are now.

PCs have become more accessible, consoles have become bigger, plus the prevalence of smartphones and the accessibility of gaming on those devices has only pushed things further. Among Us is the latest example of a game zooming into the zeitgeist, but we’re just at the beginning. Acceptance of gaming is becoming more and more widespread. And just like TV and films before it, there is so much that’s still to come.

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Jacob Mitchener

Jacob Mitchener

(Mostly) tech writer based in NYC. Other interests include movies, games, music, soccer, and traveling. You’ll find a little bit of all of that here.