We need a new term for video games

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Everyone’s trying to get us out – or stay – and play. Seriously. Peloton, Netflix, Zoom, TikTok, Amazon, Apple and Google are experimenting or going much further in video games.

What is going on?

The simple answer is that people around the world are already spending a lot of time and money on video games, and established game companies and newcomers are considering all kinds of interactive digital experiences to save more time and money. ‘silver.

I’m excited about this development, even though my own passionate video game came to an end in the BrickBreaker era for the Blackberry. It’s like we are re-imagining both what a “video game” is and what online downtime can be – more engaging and social, perhaps, and a little less. passive doomscrolling. (Or maybe I read too much about it. Yeah, maybe it’s just about the money.)

Whatever the motivation, games can soon seem like a must. New features in Zoom – yes, this Zoom – include poker, trivia, and mystery games. Peloton, the maker of $ 2,500 exercise bikes, is releasing a game that lets the power of the pedals control a rolling virtual wheel. Netflix confirmed this week its intention to add video games to its online entertainment service. Facebook, TikTok, Amazon, Apple and Google offer us video games to varying degrees or sell game subscriptions. (The New York Times is also more interested in digital games and puzzles.)

Video games are a big business that got even bigger during the coronavirus pandemic, so it’s no surprise that more and more companies want to join in on the action. A recent report from Accenture estimated that global sales related to games are greater than the combined revenue from movies and music. These figures include sales of conventional video games for computers and consoles, games for smartphones, advertising in games and more. Video games also have cultural significance, as Olympic organizers showed this week by presenting game music at the opening ceremony.

We may actually need to change our terminology as many new digital games are different from how we might traditionally define and imagine video games – those cinematic worlds of PlayStation or Xbox.

Just as smartphones have introduced us to simpler games that capitalized on unique features of phones like gyroscopes and on-the-go internet connections, many newer games blur the lines between video games and other types of social activity. . Pokémon Go, Fortnite, and Among Us are video games, but they’re also hangouts for friends, pop culture moments, political organization opportunities, and more.

What’s exciting about many of the new gaming experiences is that they signal a move beyond a phase in which online and smartphone media often mirrored what had happened before – many podcasts were like talk shows, Netflix was like television, and online media was like newspapers.

I know not all games are empowering models of human social connection, but I feel like something exciting is going on. There is more of a rush to come up with new digital forms that emphasize interaction rather than passive reading, observing or listening.

We’re going to have more sophisticated, cutting-edge games and more stuff that doesn’t fit the video game box to challenge our minds, bodies, and social interactions. I am intrigued to see everything.

  • Are the good times TOO good? The pandemic has catapulted tech companies and executives “into another universe of wealth and influence,” writes my colleague David Streitfeld. David spoke to tech executives and industry critics about the benefits and dangers of even more dominant technology dominance.

  • Wikipedia is a model for better communication in public health: Disinformation researcher Renée DiResta says the internet encyclopedia is a good model for government pandemic communications that keep pace with evolving scientific knowledge, provide visibility into who is saying what and tap into a wide range of voices.

  • How to watch the Olympics without cable TV: It’s hard. The Washington Post has a helpful guide that involves the Peacock streaming service, password sharing, and old school NBC.

Sydney Sulfur-crested Cockatoos taught each other how to open trash cans. Plus, how is it possible that the pests of Australia – including those cockatoos and the white ibis known as ‘garbage chicken’ – are so beautiful?

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