A recent survey into the nature of relationships and community in the gaming industry found that 36 percent of participants had made a lifelong friend from interactions in gaming, and over 20 percent of those friendships had lasted at least five years.
Gaming has become a place for like-minded individuals to connect, chat, share common interests, and form deep and meaningful relationships. The industry’s rapid growth in recent years – and its position as the highest earning entertainment sector – is partly due to the sense of community it has fostered.
Today, gaming provides an opportunity for people from different backgrounds, ethnicities and geographical locations to form relationships online more easily than in real life. 40 percent of gamers agree that they have been able to meet more people, love interests and friends through gaming than in person.
There has always been a convenience and ease about going online and connecting with fellow players over a shared interest in a particular game. Yet COVID-19 has accelerated this trend, as lockdowns and curfews have posed significant barriers to in-person social interaction. This has served to strengthen the gaming community and bring more members into its fold.
Gaming has historically been criticised for a lack of diversity, with a perception that gamers are almost exclusively young white males. However, this stereotype no longer holds true, as the makeup of the industry has changed drastically in recent years. For example, women now account for 46 percent of the gaming population, and the 55-64 age bracket is its fastest growing demographic.
By offering participants equal opportunities to excel at their chosen game, regardless of their background, age, gender or circumstances, gaming promotes a sense of belonging and inclusiveness. Roman Semiokhin, an influential businessman within the industry, has worked to encourage this open-mindedness and recognises that diversity and inclusion are key to the sector’s success.
Thanks to this community focus, the gaming sector is proving to be increasingly socially conscious. Gamers have shown that they not only care about their fellow players, but also about society as a whole, and are keen to reduce their carbon footprint and support socially responsible games.
A recent UN report found that the gaming industry is making “a tidal shift towards sustainability.” Its position as a fast-growing and far-reaching platform means it has “unrivalled potential” to successfully raise awareness for social and environmental causes and drive positive behavioural change.
This commitment to social responsibility attracted attention during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the games industry launched the #PlayApartTogether campaign to encourage people to follow the WHO’s health guidelines (such as social distancing) and show consideration for others within the community.
Beyond this, gamers are increasingly using microtransactions to “game for good” and raise money for charitable causes. Through Twitch, Amazon’s popular livestreaming platform, over $83 million was raised by gamers for good causes in 2020 alone.
Roman Semiokhin is a passionate philanthropist within the gaming sector. Recently, he donated USD 500,000 to support communities affected by the recent wildfires in Cyprus, and gave RUB 40 million and EUR 1 million to assist with the fight against COVID-19 in Russia and Cyprus respectively.
Gaming is more than just a form of entertainment – it is an increasingly close-knit, inclusive and socially responsible community. Roman Semiokhin understands this, and his community-led outlook is one of the reasons he is such a successful operator within the industry.