Video Games & Social Distancing

You can’t get around the news currently. COVID-19 is rightfully the main issue on everyone’s mind. This virus has raised several technological concepts as it relates to our every day lives. While taking a step back, what we see is a global community embracing platforms, hobbies, and tools in a way that were once deemed unnecessary or on the fringe.

One of the first areas that we’ve noticed a change is how activities which could be dangerous for spreading the disease are put online. From tele-work/health, and academia, large institutions and private practices are quickly moving online. The real shame is that as these measures were not mainstream before, the roll-out will most likely be rushed and because of that felt unfavorably, coloring the view of these tools for future use. Teaching in a virtual world isn’t ideal, but hold many benefits including bringing together individuals who might never have crossed paths before. Once baseline technologies are met(phone or computer with video capacity), accessibility increases and certain elements of social inequity begin to level. These systems are far from perfect, and they will only grow if they are in use. So how do we create programs that incorporate additional support needs, oppressive practices, or social isolation? We use and evolve the products.

Gaming is obviously an area of great interest. While many are worried that systems created for business or education won’t be able to handle the massive surge virtual distancing has led to overnight, the gaming community hasn’t blinked. World of Warcraft, and other large MMORPGs have been operating with worldwide numbers on servers at once for years. Games have the ability to teach us a thing or two about mitigating a world online.

It can be lonely following recommendations to be mindful of social interactions. Those who are isolating due to exposure or because they wish to lower their chances of catching COVID aren’t going to be satisfied just sitting at home working and watching Netflix. We need social interaction, especially if we feel added stress from world events. To safely be able to do that through online games and social media will mean that more people will abide by these rules should the need arise to restrict every day life more Many people just days or weeks into this event are struggling to find meaning and the will to work while they battle the concern. It’s okay if it doesn’t all come at once. We’re in an adjustment period and with that means that we must appreciate that this isn’t the norm, that we can’t just switch off. Connecting with others and having a bit of escapism can only help this transition.

Stay safe, stay healthy, play on.

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