There’s been a gaming community for many, many years.
Chess clubs, bridge clubs, dominoes clubs have been found in public houses for decades, but as the technological revolution has continued, communities have expanded online, and have switched from forums, to blogs, to videos.
Once confined (stereotypically at least) to nerds trapped in basements playing the likes of World of Warcraft, gaming has now opened up to a worldwide community with millions and millions of people teaming up and playing together online.
Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network have added console gamers to this community, with more than 160 million users between them.
The internet has provided a huge space for gamers; not just for playing, but also for picking up tips, hints, and the best strategies.
There are plenty of forums out there and official games websites often provide discussion spaces too. But in recent years, tips have moved over to video, with the ability to show examples being particularly popular.
TwitchTV has gone from strength to strength over the years as a platform for gamers to share tips with eachother. The site receives 45 million visitors per month and allows visitors to discover new games, enter gaming competitions, watch video shows, and of course pick up those all-important hints.
Video games now have more online spectators than even traditional sports, with Twitch being more popular than Ustream, the WWE, ESPN and MLB.com combined. And it’s no wonder when you can learn so much.
By simply watching an expert gamer you can learn a great deal, while uploaded talk-throughs can give you the edge when you load up the games yourself.
But the beauty of Twitch is that it isn’t just FIFA 2014, Call of Duty or other major console games that are focused on.
Other games like high stakes poker are becoming increasingly popular as the industry continues to grow. Online gambling is worth in the billions and is growing at a rate of knots, so getting to see how experienced players multi-table, call bluffs, and decide how to raise is perfect as a Full Tilt training platform before hitting the virtual tables for real.
The recent hype surrounding Twitch has been phenomenal, with it being compared to the Netflix of spectator gaming. It is fast becoming not only a social platform but an important part of how we consume games.
The rise of next generation consoles will only enhance that, taking us further and further away from traditional communities, and deeper into what is continually being touted as a ‘golden era’ for gaming.