Today’s Gamer Geek: The Socialite
By: Steven Chaffin, Jr.
February 06, 2013 - 8:46 CST
Today's gamer doesn't stop at a game's credits. That's only the beginning.
When I first started gaming, the concept of “playing online” was nonexistent. Even when forms of online play made their way to the Xbox and PlayStation 2, the idea was still foreign and complicated to me. It wasn’t until the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 that the abundance of multiplayer modes started to make any sense to me, as they worked seamlessly and, unlike before, multiplayer modes were becoming the centerpiece for many games.
Today, a game without an online mode receives odd looks. There have been plenty of times when I’ve decided not to purchase a game solely on the grounds that it has no online mode. Why? I can easily rent a game, beat its campaign, and return it for under ten bucks. A game with multiplayer, however, offers something extra. Call of Duty 4, and I use this as an example only because it was my first foray into the online world, offered a short and exhilarating single-player experience, which took only a few hours to complete. Previously, that would have been it. My sixty-or-so dollars had been fulfilled in a few hours. But that was no longer the case, and a year later I had logged nearly five hundred hours into the game
The overarching point here is that sixty-dollars means a lot more than it used to. It no longer buys a gamer a handful of hours of enjoyment, but the possibility of spending hundreds of hours honing your skills with or against others. Today’s gamer doesn’t just play a campaign and throw a game aside. In fact, he might ignore the campaign altogether, or the campaign might not exist to begin with. He throws on his headset, logs onto PlayStation Network (or Sony Entertainment Network, as we’re apparently supposed to call it now) or Xbox Live, invites a few friends into a party, and works with them to achieve whatever the objective of the game is.
And that’s another thing. Gaming with pals will always be a great experience, whether they’re sitting beside you on your couch or playing alongside your digital self from their own home, but it’s no longer a requirement. The world of online gaming caters to those who don’t have any friends of their own. I’ve met dozens of people in game lobbies that I later talked to and gamed with regularly. It’s a place for friends to come together, and to make some new friends along the way. I don’t condone Xbox Live buddies marrying (yes, some people are silly), but it’s awesome that I can chat with people from around the world and learn some pretty awesome stuff from them, from the best class combinations and best gear to the best kind of dragon mount.
The lesson: If you’re still too shy to delve into the world of online gaming, it’s time to put that fear aside and dive in. Online gaming should never replace awesome campaigns, but offers great experiences that no campaign can give you, and gives you a greater bang for your buck.
Steven Chaffin, Jr.
Steven Chaffin, Jr. is a games reporter for NextGenUpdate.