Today's gamer is no longer the stereotypical teen loner playing in his parents' basement. In fact, today's gamer is probably more like you than you think. She's a co-worker with two kids, the guy next to you at the gym, a fellow volunteer - and most commonly, a spouse, sibling or friend. Gaming has changed a lot over the years and so have the players who play them.
Gaming isn't kids play; today, gaming is a hobby that is being enjoyed by more than 2.6 billion fans - yes, that's billion with a "B." According to the recent State of Gaming Report, the average gamer age in the U.S. is 35 and 31 percent are women.
Gaming is gaining such mainstream popularity that even if it hasn't hit your world yet, it likely will before you know it, so here is your Gaming 101 to get you in the know.
With more fans than traditional sports like basketball, baseball and even football, Esports is the professional sport of video gaming, played by teams for spectators. Professional gamers can net serious bank, to the tune of $20 million prize pools or more. Even celebrities are getting into the mix. Mark Cuban and Ashton Kutcher have invested in esports betting technology; Superstars Shaquille O'Neal, Magic Johnson and DJ Steve Aoki all own pro gaming teams; Mila Kunis, Megan Fox and Drake all game themselves; and Steven Spielberg just released "Ready Player One," a blockbuster movie about gaming.
Social interaction is an integral aspect of gaming, and playing online with fellow gamers around the world will probably result in new terminology. Beginner slang includes:
One term not discussed above that you'll frequently hear in gaming sessions is "rig." This is slang for the computer you use to play your games. Gaming PCs are built to be far more powerful than your average computer because today's games require massive power to play. To really get the most out of today's PC games you need a computer built with lots of CPU power and a quality graphic card, which helps the game perform faster and in more detail, creating an immersive play experience. Today there are a range of options to get in the game, from Dell's G-Series lineup, which is a great entry-price option, to Alienware laptops or desktops, which are considered the Ferrari of gaming.
All right, you've learned the important terminology and you've got the rig you need to enjoy the world of gaming. Now it's time to pick a game by reading game reviews, viewing trailers or asking friends what they enjoy playing. Pick a game with a theme that interests you and be mindful of the game's Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating if younger players will play it or be in the room while it's played.
Once you choose the right game for you, set the game to an easy difficulty setting so you can nail the fundamentals and work your way up. Don't worry, no one will judge you! After that, all you need is practice. Great gamers aren't born overnight, but the path to gamer status is an exciting and incredibly enjoyable ride.
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