Who doesn’t love video games? If there’s one thing for certain, they’re big business in the North East. Not only are we dedicated gamers ourselves, but we’re pretty good at making them too. In fact, the North East itself has over 60 video game studios within its region. We’re gaming mad – there’s no two ways about it.
But, besides all the expected mod-cons making video gaming better year after year, there’s something else at play. Interconnectivity technology – aka the Internet – is changing the way we play, produce, and experience games. It’s also caused gaming culture to expand at a rapid rate. What was once a niche market for bedroom enthusiasts, is now a global phenomenon. Video gaming has transcended the geek status and broken into mainstream culture. Now, more than ever, it’s cool to be a gamer. Not to mention fun.
Connecting through Cons
You’ve only got to grace Newcastle’s Anime and Gaming Con to see the cultural power of interconnectivity in action. You’ll not only meet local enthusiasts, ranging from button bashing beginners to professional players, but international visitors too. Fans from around the world can connect with one another and find these events listed online, and then buy a ticket to attend.
Video game conventions and competitions are springing up along the length and breadth of Britain. Without the Internet, we’d never be able to build such large communities centred around one activity. Newcastle has even hosted a tournament for the online video game Fortnite, featuring cash prizes for the most prestigious players. Winners of the tournament then qualified for a chance to win the £25,000 grand prize at the finale in London.
Fortnite, for those wondering, is an online Battle Royale co-op game with a massive global audience. The objective is to stay alive in the mass chaos of 99 other players trying to do the exact same thing. Naturally, it is the power of interconnectivity which makes it all possible.
Interconnectivity Further Afield
It’s not just a handful of video games offering real-time play with an entire planet either. Casinos have also taken their games online, giving players a chance to game at inter-connected tables. Online casino games aren’t new, we’ve all seen them before. Services like BetPal, an established online betting and casino guide in UK gaming, also helps players to find the best bonuses and sites, making navigating the thousands of options available much easier.
But, that’s not the only way interconnectivity is changing the way we play. Thanks to advancements in Internet technology, and the affordability of high-speed connections, you can now join a game, at any time, with players from anywhere in the world. Dealers can spin a roulette wheel in the US, live-streamed via a secure connection to your screen, while you place your chips from Gateshead. In fact, you can even play your chances by backing video game players and eSports teams. There aren’t many corners of culture untouched by gaming today.
Where can the Industry Take Us?
The video game business has taken such a massive upward trajectory in the UK. So much so, that the industry is actually experiencing a shortage of skilled workers. Fortunately, a prestigious, state-of-the-art studio called NextGen has since opened at Sunderland College. Some of the largest gaming platforms on the globe such as Ubisoft have given the studio a nod too. Because, not only are Sunderland College’s NextGen offering students access to professional software, work stations, and technology, but they’re the first college to deliver an eSports qualification too. Don’t let anybody tell you it’s not all happening up here.
Retro gaming fans might find it interesting to learn the Mortal Kombat games series first began its life in the North East’s Midway Games studio. More modern gamers might also be blown away at the fact Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 was partially created not far from Newcastle’s city centre, at AAA game studio Ubisoft Reflections. Given that we’re educating the next wave of top flight programmers, testers, and developers, we can expect a lot more prestigious titles too.
The Geordie Gamers
Speaking of Newcastle, we couldn’t leave out local Geordie and football superfan Jake Simpson. Last year he represented Newcastle United in the official ePremier league, after being a regular player of FIFA since 2011. Only a business apprentice at the time, Jake beat a seasoned eSports pro in the final of a competition held at St. James’ Park, before going on to represent Newcastle in the final of the ePremier league.
Without interconnectivity technology, FIFA players would never be able to challenge one another across the globe, and test their skills against top talent. People like Jake aren’t just taking on the computer or their younger siblings, it’s all gone international. This goes for all online gaming platforms too. We should take pride in the face the North East are not only helping drive progress in the movement, but educate, and train the next generation of gaming experts too. Interconnectivity has really made its mark on our region, and it’s helped solidify our place on the global gaming map too.