Gaming refers to the use of computers or video game consoles to pass the stimulation and interaction of the brain through the use of visual inputs. A video game is an interactive computer game that entails interaction with a user either through interaction with the screen or with a touchpad, keyboard, stick, or other input device including a mouse, trackball, or other pointing device. A game player controls the characters in the game by a series of keystrokes or mouse clicks, and is rewarded or promoted when his character hits, dodges, jumps, or otherwise performs the action that is pre-determined by the game designer. In many cases, the player may be required to exercise a degree of control over the character. These games are usually designed for extended periods of time and may involve several players; however, most video games can be played single player.
Online gaming is one of the fastest growing segments within the global Internet and video game industry. It is estimated that there are presently more than seven million users engaged in online gaming. Most online gaming platforms are PCs that have connections to high-speed Internet via modem or wireless router. In some cases, gamers connect their game consoles to their personal computers through a USB port or compatible adapter. In order to play games on most platforms, a browser must be installed on the computer in order to access the game services and to interact with the game environment.
Video game arcades, also referred to as “video arcades,” opened in locations such as coffee shops, malls, movie theaters, and public libraries in the 1970s. These early venues were designed to serve as the initial location for testing and promoting new video games before they were introduced to the general market. Arcade gaming became popular in retail establishments such as Blockbuster, video gaming stores such as Circuit City, and at home in the family home. Today, most major cities have at least one such location where individuals can visit for short periods of time to test new releases or play arcade games.
Since the emergence of online multiplayer video games and the invention of specialized consoles such as Xbox, Play station, Wii, and Nintendo Wii, the landscape of gaming has changed dramatically. Today, people spend more time interacting with their consoles than with their computers. With the advent of downloadable games for consoles, gamers no longer need to visit the arcade to test a game or to meet friends who also play. Instead, players can easily log on to their console and engage in head to head gaming.
With the arrival of streaming technology, all gamers are able to access gaming content from any location. This means that gamers no longer need to be located within close proximity to internet providers or broadcasted television stations to be able to enjoy interactive gaming. With streaming technology, all gamers are able to enjoy the latest releases from their favorite online multiplayer gaming service providers, play against other members of their friends’ family, and chat with others who are also interested in the same types of activities.
Not all gamers, however, enjoy online multiplayer video game play. Many female gamers find that playing games like Xbox or Nintendo Wii instead of the aforementioned console systems makes them more comfortable playing games. Other female gamers, however, still prefer playing games with other females. In some cases, these female gamers may be alienated by the hostile attitude of their male counterparts in online gaming communities. For this reason, many female gamers choose to play games with other female gamers.