Please bear in mind that this article is written from my personal experience and is my personal opinion.
I’m going to cover a few areas when I have found the online gaming community outside of games themselves, to be the complete opposite of what I would expect.
First of all, I love Instagram. I have been on Instagram for about 2 years and I think its great. Being on there, some of the interests I have, have led me to becoming part of a number of communities within IG and when I say community I really mean it. I have met people through shared interest that I have gone on to meet face to face and have lunch and beers with, I have talked to people all over the world. The communities would hold competitions, giveaways, there was always someone to help if you had any questions. I was even trading things I had bought and made with people from all across the world.
Recently I got out of touch with the scene and converted my IG account to @VoM.Gaming, a gaming centralised account to back up my Twitch and Twitter. Now I expected the gaming community to be huge, to be full of like-minded people who would talk games, play online with, share experiences with, but ooh was I wrong.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are people out there like me, who do just love to game and also love to talk to others that do the same. But when it comes to gaming, I have found the online community to be mostly made up of three types of accounts. There are the normal accounts of normal people like I’ve described, but I have found them to be very few and far between. There are the “FREE XBOX/PSN/RIOT/STEAM CURRENCY!” accounts, we all know them, and finally there are they “Hi! great picture! check out my YouTube channel, I’m so funny and great and I’m nearly at 15k subs so if you would follow that would be great.” people. Now if you ask me, those last people don’t care about you, they haven’t looked at your ‘great’ picture, they just spam every picture with #gaming, in endless hope of growing their channels to be big and famous. when I see these messages, I unfollow because they don’t care what I’m posting, they are just in it for the hope of ‘fame’, as opposed to the love of the games.
I am currently holding a competition to win a Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Season Pass worth £35, all you have to do is follow me, and repost a picture and you could win it, for free. How many entries have I had? 7. Out of all of the people in the world on IG that have browsed the gaming hashtag in the last few weeks, 7 have thought they would like to win something worth nearly $50 for doing essentially nothing. What does that say? to me it says that people just aren’t taking time to browse, to see what other people are doing. If I were to post a picture on Instagram right now, I would get the same handful of people that will like it, but never follow or comment, I would get offered some dubious PSN membership and that’s it. Occasionally I will get someone asking about my setup or my controller and when that happens I jump on the chance to interact with someone who is actually interested.
Next up, Reddit. I am new to Reddit and again, I think it’s a fantastic tool. Anything you can think of, there’s a subreddit for it. I had problems with my streaming, /r/twitch helped, issues with my Elgato /r/elgato helped, Problems or questions with Xbox or CoD? /r/CodAW is absolutely brimming with people on the highest horses you’ve ever seen. If you haven’t got a K/D of 2.0 or higher, you’re a noob and if you have an opinion on something like say Quickscoping, you are wrong and you will get abused for it. Multiple times have I gone on there searching for an answer for something, and have ended up in a whose ‘weapon’ is bigger contest with some huge egoed, sarcastic, condescending person telling me to stop playing Xbox before I embarrass myself anymore. Where’s the comradery? the helping hands? I’ll tell you where they are, they are furiously typing down on people who just want help.
Lastly I just want to mention the actual in-game chat in party based games such as CoD. There was a time when people in Call of Duty would have a chat, have a laugh and use these games to unwind with some online friends. I would meet and play with people regularly from all over the world on Modern Warfare. But lately I have noticed that less and less people will talk at all in-game. I’ll join a lobby where everyone will have a mic symbol, but no one is talking. Very, very rarely will I ever hear anyone, except from people insulting you for killing them, or them insulting you mother. And it’s sad that nobody wants to talk any more, it feels like these games have become more of a competition that a way to relax.
So to finish off I will say this, next time someone asks you for help online, help them out. If you hear someone chatting in-game, plug your mic in and make a friend. And if you’re trying to get famous on YouTube, honestly good luck to you, but put a bit of heart into your account, people are more likely to follow you when you ask them too if you’re actually a nice person to talk to or watch.
The Moral of the story, be nice, and game together.