What is gaming? Definition and examples

Gaming is the practice of playing video games. The term may also refer to betting, especially online. This article focuses just on the term when it refers to video games.

Somebody who is gaming may be playing video or electronic games using a console, mobile phone, VR (virtual reality) goggles, or computer. The gamer is typically a regular player who enjoys electronic games as a hobby. There are also professional gamers; they make a living in the world of esports. In fact, some of them are now millionaires.

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The term esports is short for electronic sports, in which gamers compete online or in giant arenas. Prize money sizes have been increasing dramatically over the past few years.

From a solitary to social activity

Gaming was initially a solitary activity. However, over the past decade, online video games involving multiple players have become extremely popular. For many players, the activity has become an opportunity to socialize. In fact, for some of them, it is their only opportunity to interact with others.

Techopedia.com has the following definition of the term:

“Gaming refers to playing electronic games, whether through consoles, computers, mobile phones or another medium altogether. Gaming is a nuanced term that suggests regular gameplay, possibly as a hobby.”

Evolving for decades – Gaming

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Gaming started off in 1940 at the World Fair in the US. At the time, people viewed it as a technological phenomenon. Since then, it has grown dramatically and is today an extremely lucrative entertainment sector.

Mobile technology boosted the gaming market considerably. Mobile technology, in this context, refers to the technology used for smartphone communication.

Integrated with current popular culture

According to techcrunch.com, in the United States, 80% of households have a console and over 42% of people are gamers.

Techcrunch.com explains:

“Since the early 2000s, Internet capabilities have exploded and computer processor technology has improved at such a fast rate that every new batch of games, graphics and consoles seems to blow the previous generation out of the water.”

“The cost of technology, servers and the Internet has dropped so far that Internet at lightning speeds is now accessible and commonplace, and 3.2 billion people across the globe have access to the Internet.”

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Some people take gaming very seriously. (GIF: https://giphy.com/)

Etymology of ‘gaming’ and ‘gamer’

Etymology is the study of the origin of words, and also how their meanings changed or evolved over time.

The term gaming first appeared in the English language c. 1500. At the time, it meant “gambling.’ It was not until the early 1980s that it began to refer to computer and video games.

In the fifteenth century, the word gamer also emerged. It meant “gambler.”

How big is the gaming market?

In 2019, the worldwide gaming market was worth $151.55 billion. Experts believe that by 2025, it will reach $256.97 billion. Over the period 2020 to 2025, analysts forecast a CAGR of 9.17%. CAGR stands for compound annual growth rate.

Cloud computing

Since cloud gaming came onto the scene, the market has been expanding progressively faster. The server does all the computing work. A growing number of companies today are offering cloud gaming services. Examples include Gaikai, StreamMyGame, G-Cluster, and Onlive. However, the sector’s growth has been partly at the cost of the traditional gaming market.

In one of our previous articles, Christian Nordqvist wrote:

“With cloud gaming there will be no need to download the game to the device. Everything about the game will be stored in data centres and within delivery networks.”

“All the gamer will need is a high-res gaming terminal. With this move comes substantial benefits to the user and the games’ providers.”

esports
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Much of the current expansion is due to the rapid uptake of esports in South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, North America, and Europe.

Mordorintelligence.com makes the following statement regarding esports:

“Adoption of Gaming Platforms, such as E-sports, drives the market. eSports are witnessing substantial market demand in the current market scenario, and are thus driving the overall gaming industry across the globe. South Korea is considered to be the country of origin of eSports.”

Pros and cons

Ever since video games became popular, there have been concerns and praises by parents, psychologists, the industry, businesspeople, and others. Let’s have a look at some pros and cons:

Pros
  • Boosts basic visual processes.
  • Improves executive functioning.
  • Everyday skills such as hand-eye coordination, attention span, and working memory improve.
  • Players are able to make decisions more quickly.
  • Playing helps ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Cons
  • Gaming can make some people more violent.
  • It reduces people’s ability to focus or concentrate.
  • The activity can become addictive.
  • Some players report increased symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Given that some of the pros and cons listed above contradict each one another, it is clear that competent researchers need to carry out more studies.