An Introduction to Gaming for Non-Gamers
If you go for a stroll in your neighborhood, you will most likely spot kids playing on their mobile devices. From a time when children hopped on their computers or consoles to play, we have evolved to a time and place where gaming has become so common that you can do it on your handheld devices. Reputed and mainstream TV channels like Star Sports are televising gaming and esports on prime time slots that were once occupied by the likes of cricket and other popular sports.
Amidst this backdrop, India's fascination with gaming has steadily swelled over the past few years. As video games have captured the mainstream imagination, celebrities like former Indian cricket team captain have unveiled their love for gaming. Dhoni's retreat into the immersive worlds of titles like Call of Duty and PUBG serves as not just an entertainment medium, but also a constructive escape to channel his exuberant energy positively. In a similar spirit, Bollywood stars John Abraham, Arshad Warsi, and even have lent their voice to this growing choir of gaming enthusiasts.
With a growing affinity towards gaming, a pivotal moment arrived in February 2022, as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the setting up of an for boosting talent in the animation and gaming sector.
The current surge in gaming signifies a shift from leisure activity to a significant cultural and economic force. India's embrace of gaming, from neighborhood scenes to prime-time screens, symbolizes a societal acknowledgment of technology's role in shaping entertainment and creative industries.
What is a video game? Are there different types?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes a video game as “an electronic game in which players control images on a video screen.” Simply put, a video game is a structured, electronic form of play, usually undertaken for entertainment or fun. There are different types of video games and they are generally categorized into the following:
Sandbox - Open-world, with non-linear gameplay. [Minecraft]
Real-time strategy (RTS) - Usually top-down view games that allow you to control multiple units or factions [Age of Empires]
Shooters (FPS and TPS) - As the name suggests, you pick up guns and other weapons to shoot at your opponents. [Valorant, CS: GO]
Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) - Multiplayer and team play-based games that happen online and combine elements of RTS games. [League of Legends, Dota 2]
Role-playing - You create or take control of a character and you do quests and level up through experience points. [Skyrim]
Sports games - Sports games that let players be an athlete, be it cricket, football, or even racing cars. [NBA2K, Forza Motorsport]
Simulation games - A combination of sandbox, world-building, and virtual reality games that allow you to go on an immersive, real-world experience. [Sims]
Puzzlers and party games [Jackbox Party Pack, Portal 2]
Action-adventure - Games with a focus on plot and combat filled with gameplay mechanics. [Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, GTA]
Survival and horror - While survival games center on resource management, horror games involve a post-apocalyptic world or a scary storyline. [Resident Evil]
Platformer - Games that involve a lot of running, climbing, jumping and completing levels. [Cuphead]
Gaming Transports You Into a Different World
While playing video games, you are offered full control over the narrative of your story within the game’s universe. You could be a warrior, a dragon, a princess, or even a vigilante, but you are given complete control over what you want to do and how to evolve the world that you are in. There are games curated for everybody – fighting, first-person shooter, high-fantasy, casual, puzzles, single-player, multi-player, and even open-world games.
Just because you love action-packed movies, it does not mean that you would enjoy fighting games. The best way to explore is to try multiple games and see which ones you thoroughly enjoy playing. You can test out different genres of games to truly understand which one suits your taste and play style.
However, you should remember that as someone new to gaming, you will likely have problems moving your camera, positioning your characters in-game, and figuring out other controls. Note that with time you will get better at it and this should not prevent you from playing games. Give yourself some time to pick up on muscle memory and understand the controls and keys.
Having said all this, let us quickly jump into how the gaming industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar one in the last decade or so.
Video Gaming Industry is a Behemoth
The video gaming industry is deemed one of the most exciting industries in the field of tech as it brings together culture, entertainment, and technological advancement. Games are no longer just privy to those own PCs or consoles with the meteoric rise of mobile gaming companies.
The COVID-19 pandemic that shook the world and pushed us into isolation and confinement saw gaming as a new wave of interest in indoor activities. Many people picked up consoles and gaming gear for the very first time. People took to games like PUBG Mobile, Among Us, Jack Box games, and many more. The streaming industry also picked up steam during this time.
The video gaming industry is currently the most lucrative entertainment industry even surpassing the likes of Hollywood. The global gaming $249.55 Billion USD in 2022 and is anticipated to grow from $281.77 Billion in 2023 to $665.77 Billion by 2030. GTA V the latest entry in the Grand Theft Auto franchise has managed to gross $7.68 Billion in revenues since the game’s original release in late 2013.
Yet, delving into the world of video gaming necessitates a nuanced understanding of its diverse components. The distinction between gaming and esports is pivotal. While "gaming" encapsulates a broad spectrum of video game playing across various platforms, "esports" hones in on competitive gaming, where high stakes and professional prowess intersect. In this arena, players elevate gaming to a profession, earning salaries through participation in tournaments and leagues. The analogy to traditional sports is palpable - akin to representing a national or state cricket team in the Ranji Trophy after mastering the streets.
The misconception of video games can lead to addiction is slowly fading away and the way gaming is looked at by the masses is changing for the better.