As traditional sports come to a halt to limit the spread of COVID-19, several heads (naturally) turn to esports. At the end of the day, if you are not able to play and compete "IRL" (In Real Life) it is quite natural to seek alternatives that can provide for similar experiences. From professional footballers and entire leagues, such as LaLiga, and professional F1 drivers, many sports people are dipping their toes in esports in an attempt to fill the void.
However, it is not all about esports and, in fact, while many talk about esports, thousands are spending their time building homes on deserted islands.
People do not only switch their consoles and PCs "on" to get their competitive fill; non-competitive gaming is also gaining considerable traction and, during these difficult times, people are counting on video games to find places to relax and socialise.
For example, the newly released Animal Crossing: New Horizons - a game where the players travel to a deserted island to build their ideal spots - is breaking sales records. While the franchise is top-rated and capable of selling a remarkable number of copies under any circumstance, there is no doubt that sales have been inflated by the many people that are, in the words of the creator of Animal Crossing, finding "an escape [during these] difficult times".
Video games are powerful mediums and go well beyond the competitive aspect by providing people with places they can "travel" to, in order to meet others and conduct relationships. Basically, video games allow us to experience our humanity at a time where we are called upon resisting the human drive to go outside and/or to gather together. Ok maybe that's a tad dramatic, but you get my point.
COVID19 is a risk to all, but especially to the elderly. Older adults are currently leading fully isolated lives, and that is unfortunate because it has been proven that social interaction can be very beneficial to the health of older adults, while the lack thereof may encourage a range of complications - from cardiovascular diseases to mental illnesses.
In light of the above, it is possible to argue that video games could be an ideal tool to provide the elderly with alternative venues to socialise and tackle the harmful effects of self-isolation.
Unfortunately, that demographic is not typically versed in technology and least of all in video games. Whilst my own grandparents have already sailed to better shores, I believe that providing yours with a console, and with some remote training, you could help them cope with the current situation, especially if you have a way to connect with them and play along.
Should you decide to go for it, try to stick to titles like Animal Crossing and, although a great game, maybe avoid Modern Warfare for the time being?...
As Hanging Out Gets Difficult, More People Are Turning To Social Video Games