Gaming’s exports to the real world

If the youngest members of society are an indication of what the future holds, then it will be worthwhile to take note of the popularity of Skibidi Toilet. If reports are to be believed, it is a rage with kids less than 14 years of age. More than 38 million people have subscribed to it since it started in Feb’2023. Skibidi Toilet is an ongoing animated YouTube web series created by Georgian content creator Alexey Gerasimov. The nature of the content is causing a moral scare among grown up folks about how the internet is poisoning young minds. Whether these fears are reasonable or extreme remains to be seen, but what we can’t ignore is how gaming codes of tonality, animation, sound effects and attitudes shape what this audience finds enjoyable.

Video games seem to have birthed a new generation that is completely desensitised to what people so far found absurd, violent or absurdly violent.

From consoles to PCs to mobiles, gaming has made a long journey, getting more and more sophisticated in storylines and imaginative in characters. Gaming went from being a mere source of amusement to becoming a serious spectator sport to impacting pop culture. Not all video games are violent. CandyCrush is a video game too. No matter the game, its sound effects have a distinct trait that can be recognised as ‘gaming’ sounds. The pixelated, animated and exaggerated characters of video games are unmistakable. Video games imitated real life in its own limited ways and provided an escape into a world of fantasy. But, in the last few years, the opposite started happening. The real world started imitating the world of video games, making it hard to distinguish fantasy from real.

Younger people whose lives are equal parts real and virtual from the time they were born, seem to be immune to the artificialness of the virtual world. They perhaps see no divide between the real and the virtual or don’t view the divide the way we grown-ups do. The virtual doesn’t just seem real, the virtual is real. In reality. A few years ago I stumbled on the phenomena of ‘cosplay’ – a means of expressing fandome where fans dress up as certain characters from video games, or manga. Cosplayers are known for their versatility and strong attention to detail, combining the skills of sewing, foam and thermoplastic work, prop building, wig styling, special effects makeup and more into their work to ensure everything looks according to a specific character’s design. Popular cosplay influencers in their LIVE streams emoji-react every time a user sends them a reaction. This, to put it simply, is real people mimicking the imperfections of CG creations to perfection. The world seems to be turning up-side down. But to the next generation of society, all this seems in the right order.

Video games are even influencing fashion. Earlier this year, Tommy Hilfiger teamed up with games publisher Tilting Point to create its own fashion styling game, called FashionVerse. Brands are increasingly recognising the potential of the gaming industry to connect with people in an immersive way and potentially foster stronger connections with their customers.

Games and gamers may have a bad reputation for being nerdy, reclusive and anti-social but over half the population of adults view games as something that gives them a sense of community. It is a platform for direct and indirect learning, stimulates imagination and improves hand eye coordination as there are a lot of things going on a typical game screen that need to be processed while playing. Like most things, video games have the good, the bad and ugly side to it, but it is a force to reckon with. The gaming ecosystem is an unmistakable way to connect with young people today and overall society in the future.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Pooja Nair
Pooja Nair has over 20 years of experience as a branding consultant across leading global Ad consultancies. Pooja is also known to be an ex theater performer, actress and model. Since September, 2022, she has focussed completely on her passion for the changing face of business, brand-building and reputation.

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