As social distancing has become a common practice amongst people, there has been a rise in participation in online video games.
In a time of a pandemic, consumer spending on video games have reached a record-breaking $11.6 billion, an increase of 30% compared to last year, according to The NPD Group, Inc.
Notable popular games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Fortnite, and Grand Theft Auto V allow players to party up in a lobby and play together online. Players are also able to talk to their friends via voice chat.
The online capabilities of these games allow players to spend time together and talk as if they were physically in the same room together.
Coachella Valley resident, Julian Sanchez, 26, says, “My friends and I always used to hang out together, but with a lot of places closed and practicing social distancing, the only way we can now spend time together is by playing online video games. Even though we are not in the same room together, playing video games still feels like hanging out with them.”
Even during a pandemic, video games allow people to share moments together and even rekindle old friendships.
Jose Villarreal, another Coachella Valley resident, 26, says “I actually managed to spend time with friends that I haven’t talked to in a long time. Since they are able to have more time playing video games, we all managed to get together and start playing video games regularly. Before the virus, this wasn’t possible, but now it’s possible due to the amount of time we have indoors.”
With everyone staying inside, video games have allowed people like Villarreal to reconnect with old friends and start spending time together like they used to.
For other people, video games have helped them focus on competitive gaming and connect together with their teammates practicing and competing in popular online competitive games such as League of Legends.
Juan Torres from Coachella Valley, 22, says, “Before this whole virus, my team and I couldn’t really get together and play competitively online as we used to because of our work schedules. Since the virus, we have all been home more often. This allowed us to get together and get our team back together and start playing competitively on League of Legends. I missed doing these kinds of things with the homies and now that we’re all back together, we have been practicing and playing online competitive matches more than ever. It’s great to be back on the grind!”
For people like Torres, video games aren’t meant just for sitting back and playing, but also for playing competitively. Torres is glad to be playing competitive games again with his teammates and he attributes this to the virus.