By 2020 the average number of personal IoT devices per individual globally will be ten. Like all roads leading to Rome, access to the digital world creates multiple inroads to a new and rapidly expanding horizon of opportunity and fun.
From global communities of shared interest and amazing advancements in healthcare, to interactive games and online learning, the digital era offers great promise for a better world.
In this article, we look at the myriad of opportunities that gaming in the digital space provides, including a few that may surprise you.
A Sense of Belonging
Countless studies report that it is more difficult to make friends today than ever before. The reasons are simple: we live in a highly mobile world in which people are likely to move at least eight or nine times between the ages of 18 and 45.
From a work-life standpoint, you will likely change jobs at least a dozen times.
Given this mobility and the transitory nature of everyday life, the opportunity to make friends and become part of a community is tantamount to trying to hit a moving target. You are not going to be in one place long enough to make meaningful and lasting connections with others.
In the digital space, there are no such geographical shifts or career movements. Well, there are, but while people may frequently move in the physical realm, your virtual gaming communities are stable because you can access them from anywhere at any time.
The Apps that Bind
What brings people together?
In the real world, it is a sense of belonging where everyone shares similar interests and values. It is the point of connection that links and ultimately binds us together.
In the digital era, apps enable you to connect with people from around the world, others with whom you can share your enthusiasm in areas such as sports, hobbies, food, and games.
This “connectedness” through various apps even extends to the business world, leading to greater communication and collaboration as people are now better able to work toward achieving a shared outcome.
Whether at home or work, the world comes together in the digital space from the convenience and comfort of where you are regardless of geography and time zone; and playtime is an important outlet with benefits that stretch well beyond the games themselves.
Remember when television was called the idiot box? This negative perception was due to fears that it would turn kids away from playing outdoors, reading, or other positive pursuits. In other words, it would reduce them to mindless spectators content with watching life instead of living it.
When video games first came out, there were echoes of similar fears. The emergence of the Internet and the ubiquitous gaming communities that provide global access on a 24/7 on-demand basis only magnified these concerns.
But here is the thing: it is not a black and white, good or bad scenario. Like television before it, the benefits of online gaming far outweigh the potential negatives. For the majority of people, gaming can indeed create a better world.
Benefits Beyond the Game
Research suggests that there are countless benefits of online games that go well beyond those of social connection and fun.
Beyond the social elements, there are cognitive, motivational, and emotional gains – especially for young adults.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), digital-era games improve player focus and therefore increase attention time that will carry over into other areas of a young adult’s life – such as at college or work.
The motivational aspect of gaming is that it stimulates a path of incremental development or learning that is malleable and not tied to an unchangeable inherent characteristic. In short, through gaming, all players can learn and progressively develop.
Of course, the emotional state that a person derives from interacting with others in an online gaming environment is more than just one of enjoyment. It has lasting benefits that are translatable to everyday real-world relationships.
There is a song about the importance of staying young at heart.
Besides being a catchy tune, it also reminds us that the benefits of gaming in the digital space is not just for young people.
Studies now show that older adults – especially seniors who are active online – are generally happier, have better balance and overall coordination, and can even see an improvement in intellectual capacity.
Needless to say, whether young or old, near or far, the digital era has so much to offer.
So what do you say? Let’s play!