New research shows that people who game regularly online with others say it’s an intensely social thing to do and actually STRENGTHENS friendship bonds as well as allowing new relationships to form.
The nationwide study found that three quarters of people who regularly game say that they consider gaming buddies who they have never met to be “real friends”.
In fact, nearly a third (31 percent) of the 1000 gamers polled said they feel part of a community because of their gaming.
While four in 10 claim they feel like they have socialised when they’ve played a game and a quarter say they feel more confident about talking to people because of their online interactions.
The research by Virgin Media – headline sponsors of the UK’s biggest gaming expo, EGX, which can be accessed virtually this year from 12th – 20th September – found the average gamer regularly plays online with four “real-life” friends, while also playing with eight mates that they’ve never met.
And the data found that virtual relationships can be every bit as valuable to people as their “real life” social interactions.
And to prove their importance, around seven in 10 gamers said that they have found it EASIER to open up about their problems to their virtual friends than people they know face-to-face.
Interestingly 75 percent of these relationships are carried further onto other forums, such as social media or email. Indeed, gamers spend on average four hours a week, just messaging their online chums.
And for some the relationships can get very intense, with eight percent of those polled now dating someone they met through playing games together.
The study found that the average British gamer will spend 18 hours a week gaming. And 75 percent of the time they are playing with people they do not know in real life.
However, they have at least three real life who they regularly meet up with in virtual worlds. And the games they play strengthen those relationships, particularly during lockdown.
Nearly 80 percent of gamers say that they are closer to their real-life friends who they play with because of their time spent together in the virtual world.
And 93 percent said that they were able to keep in touch with some of their pals during lockdown, thanks to video games.
In fact, 65 percent said that they sometimes prefer playing games with those pals to meeting up with them in real life.
The study found that nearly a third (31 percent) of gamers say they feel part of a community, while four in 10 claim they feel like they have socialised when they’ve played a game and a quarter say they feel more confident about talking to people because of their online interactions.
And eight percent of respondents, who are due to head to university imminently, believe gaming will help them make new friends.
Cilesta Van Doorn, Executive Director of Brand and Marketing at Virgin Media said
“This year has shown that being able to connect with friends and family online is more important than ever. This research shows how gamers are strengthening friendships, building their confidence and even finding love – all while playing video games online.
Although EGX will be a virtual event this year, Virgin Media’s got an epic line-up of exclusive content, live streams and giveaways to ensure fans can experience the best gaming has to offer.”
With over a third of people saying they play with gamers from all over the world, it’s no surprise that the data found that one in five gamers believe that gaming educates them in new cultures.
And in fact, 27 percent say that they have realised how similar people are, no matter their roots, because of their global gaming friends.
If you enjoy games and gaming and want more NEWS from the Gaming World Click Here