The Art of Making Viable Friendships Through Online Gaming
Have you ever struggled to make new friends? It can be difficult to form wholesome relationships today, given how busy we all are. Whether that’s because we have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, our careers demand our time, or we have to help look after our loved ones, we’re all occupied with something.
Yet, sometimes it feels like it should be easier than ever before to make friends. We have many hobbies, activities, and online connections at our fingertips. However, for many of us, there’s a fear of missing out on something; FOMO is a real thing.
We’re busy, tired, and worried that we’re missing out on things in life. The good news is that the online gaming ecosystem is more conducive to making meaningful friendships than ever before. Some may think that gaming enjoyed its golden age back in the early to mid-2010s, but the sun is still shining on the community. Since those heady days, technology has become more interconnected and easy to use, making gaming-based friendships more dynamic than was previously possible.
So if you’re one of those people worried about how to make valuable friendships in this interconnected world, then take note: You can do it. This gaming ecosystem may have changed somewhat since the 2010s, but it’s all the better for it. The rise of phenomena like connected television (CTV) has ensured that real friendships are achievable and substantive. Let’s start by examining the history of online social interactions.
Gaming Has Come a Long Way
If you’re a video game enthusiast then you’ll almost certainly remember a time when your parents had to drag you away from your console or computer, demanding that you go outside and play with kids your own age. In most cases, this was just your loved ones showing concern for your well-being, wanting to make sure you had a healthy friendship network and a reasonable intake of vitamin D. What they often did not realize was that for you and millions more like you, gaming had become a social experience; for some, a complementary world to our ‘real life’ friends, and for others, our only form of social contact.
The parents of those less enlightened times could never have imagined just how important community creation would go on to become in gaming and something that was once a niche industry has become thoroughly mainstream. Activision Blizzard Media, an American gaming company behind titles like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Diablo, commissioned a study to find out more about how its customers interacted with fellow gamers online, and the results were stark. It found that 66% of those surveyed played games primarily with other users online, and not on an individual basis.
Maybe those concerned parents would have been more understanding if they had known just how diversified video games would go on to become, as in the old days, there was very little choice. Most games were based around fighting or shooting, with some platform games like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon offering an alternative.
Remember when they said that video games caused violence? Now, as a society, we know better, and there’s actually a lot of medical evidence to support the position that video games, and the online communities they create, can be beneficial for mental health.
The Psychology of Video Gaming
According to Andrew Fishman, MSW, LSW, is a certified therapist and a graduate of the prestigious Loyola University Chicago now based at the Juniper Center based in the city’s home state of Illinois. He is an expert in adolescent psychology and has spent much of his career studying the impact of video games on mental health.
Also, Fishman emphasizes to his patients, often families brought to his clinic by parents concerned that their children are spending too much time at home gaming, that this activity is not only healthy but also beneficial for mental health. He makes the point that while gamers may appear physically isolated, they are not psychologically isolated and are immersed in their own chosen community.
Fishman is also a proponent of the ‘safe space’ concept, namely “a place or environment in which a person or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm.” He believes that gaming can offer a psychologically safe space, especially for people who are characterized as “neurodivergent.”
People in this psychological classification can include:
- People with autism
- Those with mental health disorders
- The socially anxious or chronically shy
- Individuals with long-term depressive disorders
- People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
People who fit into this category often find that building friendships is easier online as gaming can provide a wholesome environment in which one can feel safe and comfortable. As such, video games represent an inclusive society where anyone can feel welcome.
Through multiplayer games and virtual worlds, individuals find camaraderie, teamwork, and a sense of belonging that transcends traditional social norms. The beauty of online gaming lies in its ability to unite people who share common interests, regardless of geographical boundaries, neurodivergence, social class, etc.
Ideal Games for Making New Friends
So, what are the best types of games for people looking to make new friends and create their own online community? Well, pretty much any game in any genre that has online capability.
There’s a huge amount of choice right in front of you, whether you are connecting via your mobile device, PC computer, or console. That is why we compiled a list of just a few examples of games that are ideal for creating new friendships online from across the gaming industry to highlight the different options you have when it comes to finding and making new friends.
1) World of Warcraft
The original, the classic, the timeless example of what a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) can achieve, World of Warcraft is one of the best examples of how a game can help create online friendships. It offers players the opportunity to delve into a variety of online fantasies, all the while engaging with their fellows and forging new friendships as they go. As a user, you are tasked with selecting a faction in the global conflict within Azeroth, embarking on a journey to experience one of the most vast and enriching MMOG adventures around, alongside gamers from around the world.
The most popular online game amongst members of Generation Z (also known as Zoomers), Fortnite is a player-versus-player game that can involve up to 100 at a time and is loosely based on classic shooting games. This captivating game offers a captivating battle royale experience with enjoyable intensity. Players can form squads for camaraderie, set out on solo adventures, engage in epic battles, or simply enjoy the game’s beautiful landscape by attending events or crafting dream islands.
3) Stardew Valley
If you’re looking for a gaming experience that is wholesome and constructive then Stardew Valley is one of the best games out there for creating new online friendships. This game can be played across PCs, consoles, and mobile devices, and it is very relaxing to play with a simple, aesthetically pleasing interface. In particular, this game is well known for having one of the most laid-back, friendly, and supportive online communities out there, making it particularly appealing to neurodivergence.
4) Pokemon GO
This game became an overnight sensation when it was first released and has retained its popularity ever since thanks to its combination of mobile-based gaming, strong community spirit, and the requirement to have to go outside to play. Hype still surrounds Pokemon GO, and the game still has millions of dedicated fans to this day all across the world. The premise is simple: go outside and follow the app to find Pokemon, then catch them and battle your fellow players, which naturally facilitates the creation of friendships.
5) Genshin Impact
If you want to enjoy a competitive RPG experience on your mobile device, then get ready for Genshin Impact when it launches in your local region. It is a Japanese game that can run on both Android and iOS and is scheduled to launch in the United States and beyond soon. You’ll be excited to hear that it has exciting features designed to support a high-quality multiplayer experience as you can go on quests with up to four of your friends and unlock various characters together.
6) Live Sudoku
Puzzles are ultimately the original form of gaming going back millennia, and Sudoku, the Japanese number game, has become so popular in recent years that there are excellent multiplayer options out there. One of these is Live Sudoku, a simple website interface that allows its users to play multiplayer games against competitors around the world. It can be played on any device, and it offers a relaxing environment in which to complete and make new connections.
The Rise of Social Gaming
A new gaming format that has become particularly popular amongst gamers ever since the rise of CTV is social games. Accessible to all ages, social games are particularly popular amongst older communities that are typically less well-served by gaming developers with players over the age of 40 typically playing for the most amount of time every day, at 17 minutes.
Social gaming casinos have become popular because it is widely available via social media platforms like Facebook and can be played conveniently on mobile devices, allowing gamers to get a quick hit of dopamine while they are commuting to work, waiting for an appointment, or when they just need one minutes’ worth of escape at work. They are also widely available on the most popular CTV platforms, including Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV, and others, making them highly accessible.
Social games are also lucrative for their developers as players have demonstrated a remarkable willingness to invest in in-app purchases. The average social games title garners nearly 70 percent of its revenue through in-app transactions, with the remaining 30 percent attributed to in-app advertising strategies. Small surprise then that the estimated global value of mobile social games is currently around $7.1 billion, which is estimated to rise to $8.3 billion in 2026.
Making Friends and Levelling Up With Crazino
One of the best examples of a social game is Crazino, an app that takes the traditional slot machine gambling format to new levels with its safe, interactive, and engaging interface. Developed by Playcent, a company well regarded for its games development team, Crazino includes multiple games for the user but only one, Vegas Heat, is immediately accessible once they have downloaded the app. This means they have to challenge themselves to unlock the other levels, keeping them engaged in gameplay for a long time.
You might be wondering how this kind of gameplay can support creating online friendships, given it is by its nature single-player, usually on a mobile device, perhaps most frequently enjoyed on the commute or taking a break from work. Well, one of the reasons why it is such a good vehicle for creating meaningful connections is because it is easily integrated onto social media platforms like Facebook (still by far and away the most popular amongst users over 40 years of age), and because you can only unlock a level at a time. Players can easily share their results with friends, highlight the levels they have unlocked, and encourage them to do the same.
That just covers the actual gameplay, and there are a number of ways Crazino players can interact with their friends and competitors via live streams, chat feature events, community challenges, the list goes. As we have already mentioned, Crazino fills a niche by appealing to gamers aged over 40 years of age, and thanks to its low intensity, high competition environment, it is particularly popular amongst neurodivergent gamers as well. The app is designed for everyone involved in online gaming, and Playcent has done well to create a simple game with high rewards that is genuinely inclusive.
Top Tips for Making New Friends Through Video Games
Making new friends through games like Crazino and others like it is easy, and there are a variety of ways you can do this. We did some research and found that there were several key techniques that anyone could use to forge new relationships online. Let’s take a look at them in more detail.
1) Keep Things Relaxed
Remember that when you are playing a game or competing against someone else, it is just a game; enjoy the experience, and do not go overboard. It is very important to maintain a calm demeanor, not react dramatically if something goes wrong, and never act as a sore loser or a bad winner. A lot of people who struggle to make friends via gaming often display these negative behavioral traits.
2) Use Social Media
Whenever you log into your game, make sure you let your connections know by posting on your social media pages, especially if your game is integrated into a platform like Facebook, which comes as standard for games like Crazino. Publish your successes (and maybe even your failures sometimes), and you will hopefully generate interest in your experience. This will make it more likely that people will ask to join you the next time you play.
3) Join Online Gaming Communities
Many games have dedicated forums, subreddits, or Discord servers where players gather and share notes about the game and their lives. These platforms provide a space to discuss strategies, share experiences, and meet new friends, so it’s a good idea to search for these communities if you think your game could have some. Even if your game is small or niche, there’s still likely to be a community out there for you.
4) Participate Actively in Communication
If your game has a multi-layer option you should always engage in conversations with your collaborators and competitors, join group chats, and participate in quests, shared levels, etc. Even if you’re shy, try to engage with your fellow players via text; you will be pleasantly surprised by how patient gamers can be. This will help build connections based on shared conversations, interests, and experiences, providing depth to your new friendships.
5) Attend Gaming Conferences
Sometimes the best way to make online friends is by meeting them offline, and one of the best ways to do this is by attending gaming conventions. You’ll be guaranteed to meet people with the same interests and passions as you, and it will be easy to make connections with whom you can play video games. You’ll also get the chance to meet famous people in the industry and try lots of new games and content.
Friendship is Good For Your Health
Online friendships are valuable, especially for those who might otherwise struggle to create connections offline (like people with chronic shyness or autism), and the benefits of these relationships go beyond the immediately apparent.. We are well aware that there are a number of psychological benefits to having a group of friends, ranging from reduced anxiety to increased perceptions of self-worth and overall well-being. We often overlook the fact that friendships provide a number of physical health benefits as well.
People with good friendship networks, whether that be with hundreds of people, just a few, or even just one friend, are significantly more likely to have lower blood pressure and cardiovascular issues, thanks to better mental health. Friendships also help to mitigate the impact of stress, as they provide emotional support during difficult times. This also applies to video games, as they provide a well-needed escape from work or educational troubles, so combining both essentially doubles the beneficial effect.
Social isolation is also associated with a higher risk of dementia as we get older, as isolated people experience fewer mental stimuli; essentially, their brains are essentially challenged less. Numerous studies indicate that keeping our brains active with new stimuli, hobbies etc (including video games), can significantly reduce the risk of developing dementia as we age. Just like the previous point, by combining both friendship and online gaming, you are doubling the maximum possible benefit.
Good Luck On Your Gaming Adventures
We’ve come a long way since the times when parents would haul their kids away from their gaming consoles and force them to go outside to play, and the world is a better place for it. Online gaming has allowed millions of people to make new, valuable, and long-lasting friendships, something that is especially important to people like neurodivergence who would otherwise struggle to form connections. In a world where the media often only focuses on negative events, the wholesome environment that can be created via online gaming friendships is something to cherish.
On your journey to creating new connections and building online friendships, you will find that there are many people out there who have the same goal as you, so you should be able to find the right people without major problems. Remember, if you’re playing a game like Crazino, it’s important to have fun, not take things too seriously, post about your experiences on social media, and share the game with your friends. Bridging the friends you already have into a new game that they’ll enjoy is always a fun experience.
Stay safe, stay positive, and stay curious for new games when they come along, as they’re an opportunity to make new friends. Finally, if it feels right, it feels right, so let your new relationships come naturally, and don’t force anything (the same goes both ways). Happy gaming!