Social Gaming: The Saviour During Lockdown

It’s fair to say that many people have often looked down their nose when it comes to people choosing to play games online with friends rather than catch up in a pub, coffee shop or generally anything but via the online medium. It does appear that the winds are changing however, as people begin to understand the importance and value of online gaming, and the fact that it is entirely social.

While the UK begins to come out of lockdown now, the last few months have seen thousands of people look to the likes of mobile gaming, online bingo and console gaming to keep themselves entertained and in contact with friends, not to mention making new ones along the way.

The rise in revenue of the likes of online bingo in the UK and mobile gaming has been significant over the past few months. App Store downloads have increased 35%, while online bingo sites in the UK have enjoyed a 30% increase in players during lockdown, as players look to get their kicks online.

As well as being a huge boost for the industry, it’s also telling of how important social gaming is, and why it should be valued as much as offline games and activities.

The increase in searches for the best bingo welcome bonuses and reviews has been significant and is perhaps one of the best indicators of the similarities between online and offline play.

For generations the game of bingo has been one that has predominantly revolved around socialising. People meet at bingo halls and enjoy the company of friends alongside playing games of bingo. With the opportunity to do that at halls being removed, the stats show people are looking to do that online, using the likes of zoom and chat functions to converse with friends while playing.

However, while that is new to many, many of whom would have previously judged online gamers, it’s technology that has been utilised via the likes of World of Warcraft and Call of Duty for years.

In fact, research has shown that online gaming is beneficial in maintaining friendships, creating new ones and having a greater social and emotional well-being.

A study by Dr Rachel Kowert found that playing social games online were particularly beneficial to those with shy or anxious tendencies, offering a release with the visual anonymity of gaming helping to add an extra layer of security.

Kowert also found that social gaming online also can lead to increased life satisfaction, and that is ultimately what the thousands upon thousands of players taking online social play up for the first time will have discovered during lockdown.

So what does this mean for gaming?

While of course not everyone will remain online gamers, it has been incredibly beneficial for those who don’t usually play online, or have previously been less than complimentary and not understood the benefits.

Even the most anti-gaming person can see the value of online play and conversation following the COVID-19 pandemic, and while it’s unsure as to how many players the industry will retain as life returns to “normal”, one thing is for sure, the reputation and stigma online gaming unreasonably has is most certainly beginning to disappear.

That’s only going to continue as the industry grows, as Esports events become bigger, and the wide range of games available increases, appealing to all generations and allowing players of all ages and interests to see what online social gaming is really all about.


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Last Updated: Jul 31, 2020