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How the Gaming World is Keeping Many of Us Inside (and Sane)

In This Time of Isolation, Virtual Interaction is Better Than no Interaction.

The gaming world presents us with opportunities to connect with communities virtually—where the ability to interact with others in real-time can still be an option for us, even during this time of social distancing. 

During this time where strict “stay inside” rules are being enforced all across the country, many are turning to gaming to stay connected with friends and relatives. Multiplayer games where players can communicate live via headsets—games like, Fortnite, Minecraft, and Animal Crossing— are built to make gamers feel as if they’re all in the same room with one another.

Even if you’re not playing against a friend or cousin, you can play anyone from around the world; or just play against the computer. Either way, it’s a sense of interaction that we’re otherwise severely lacking. 

While Schools are Closed, Poland is Encouraging Students to Log on to Minecraft.

In response to the country-wide school closures, the Polish government has taken to the gaming world to keep students inside. With the launch of its public Minecraft server, Grarantanna, students are encouraged to log on and engage in educational community gameplay. Minecraft, a game where players are encouraged to build, mine, battle, grow crops and explore without limit, seems to be the perfect lure for kids and young adults.

The server includes webinars, puzzles, history and geography quizzes. It will even host a competition to see which player can construct the best replicas of well-known architecture. To raise the stakes, prizes will be rewarded to those who showcase their most imaginative creations. Not only will this keep kids inside, it’ll keep them engaged, social, and distracted— all of which are essential for parents who are working from home with a house full of kids.   

A distraction during anxious times.

This is a scary time with no clear end in sight. A constant out pour of devastating news, we’ve found, is the new norm—leaving many of us trapped in a state of panic, fear and grief. Amidst these anxious and lonely times, we’re in desperate need of distraction or some form of solace. Gaming may be just that. 

Verizon reported that within the week of March 9-March 16 (the very beginning of school closures, self-isolation and social distancing practices) video streaming went up by 12%, VPN by 34%, web traffic by 20% but these numbers pale in comparison to the surge we’ve seen in gaming. In that week alone, gaming increased by 75% across its networks.

For many, gaming is a means of escape; it leads us to another world, one outside of ours, without having to leave our homes. Aside from staying connected in a world that feels all too detached at the moment, it’s a means of distraction, which is precisely what we need right now.

While some choose to stay connected through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, others choose to stay sane battling each other among the hills of Fortnite, build huts together in the field of Minecraft, and visit each other’s fantasy campsites in Animal Crossing.