Gaming has come a long way, with the first computer gaming system created for home use as far as 1967. It was called the Brown Box, and you could play ping pong and four other sports games on it.
Fast forward to today, however, and we have more advanced games consoles and more. Now you can play social games, which players play online and/or on mobile devices, and, as the name suggests, they have a social element to them. This article looks at social gaming in more depth.
Starting with board games
Games go back a long way. How far back? Try the days of ancient Egypt when the pharaohs played games to entertain themselves.
It was with the invention of backgammon in the 1960s that board games took off as a form of socializing, with young and old meeting over a backgammon board and in colleges.
In the 21st century, board games have enjoyed a surge in popularity, with the web series TableTop, which introduced board gaming to new people.
As mentioned, however, computer gaming was also developing in the 1960s, and although it started out as a shared activity, gaming started to become more an individual pursuit.
There was still a sense of community, however, as gaming evolved and became popular amongst young people.
The return of social to gaming
Thankfully for those seeking more community, the birth of the internet brought with it a return to multiplayer gaming. Of course, the internet was a new phenomenon.
Games console companies took several years working out how to make the most of the internet to facilitate online gaming and multiplayer options.
Sega made the breakthrough in 2000, initially, but their timing wasn’t right. Internet capabilities were still lacking, and it was still expensive to use the internet.
Sega did, however, pave the way for the next generation of consoles: Xbox and PlayStation. Both companies have made multiplayer gaming an integral part of the experience.
Now, with internet capabilities being much more powerful and the internet being much more accessible, social gaming has become more popular.
Serious social gamers form clans as they take on enemies in shoot ‘em ups and play against millions of players from across the world.
They don’t have to form alliances with total strangers, though; they can just as easily take on the challenges of a game with their friends.
The rise of social gaming
Social gaming, as a market, is worth billions. The use of smart technology has made it incredibly popular, with players seeking light entertainment rather than engaging in the long spells of sustained gaming that players on a console might.
Social gaming allows players the convenience of playing on their phones as well as being able to connect with their friends.
Variety may be playing a factor. The games can be multiplayer card games, board games, interactive video games or social media network games.
The important thing is that the game contains a multiplayer function, which creates the social element. Players can play casually and socialize as they do so.
What types of social gaming are there?
The nature of games varies. You can get all sorts such as role-playing games, including sports role playing ones; casual games, such as “Who has the best brain?”; word games and puzzles; casino games; virtual village building games; and ownership games.
One element of social gaming is sports betting, in which players can enjoy a flutter on sports events together.
This has exploded especially in the United States, following the abolition of a law that prevented states from legalizing sports betting in the states themselves.
Now, with each state having a say in their own affairs when it comes to allowing sports betting, Americans are going online, delving happily into their pockets and trying to predict the outcomes of events so they can make a little green.
Take New Jersey: of the $4.6 billion bet during 2019 with sportsbooks, 84% of this took place through online operators.
Getting social with sports betting
One of the ways that sport betting has become especially social is in the form of fantasy leagues.
Players can join existing leagues or get together with friends, work colleagues or other associates and create their own leagues. Even casual fans of sports might be willing to invest a bit of money.
It’s not just about walking away with some money and being able to say you’re a better sports team manager than your friends, however.
This type of sports betting brings people together. You’re betting against people you know and care about, and as you follow events in the league and in the sporting world, it creates conversation between you all.
In the age of social media, sports betting gives sports fans something to talk about with their followers or connections, or they can take part in a discussion online somewhere. They can be hardened sports fans or casual ones and, either way, just enjoy the social side of the betting.
Gaming has come a long way, with social elements entering gaming as a whole strongly, diminishing slightly, and then making a powerful return.
Sports betting is a big element in social gaming, bringing people together other a love of a sport and the potential to earn some money. As is the nature of gaming, there will always be a sense of community.