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Who doesn’t like video games? Every one of us has played video games at least once in our lives. Some even play continuously since they were young, at the time when video game consoles are still available. Now, with changes in technology, games are becoming more accessible, and everyone who has a portable gaming device or a smart phone can play games anywhere.
People start playing video games as young as five or six years old, and tend to continue playing until they reach their late 30s or 40s. Most gamers are in their 20s, both male and female.
Video games can be played on different mediums, and local area network games are also popular as they function just like social networks do, except that they play games together, and sometimes even work as a team.
Some video game consoles also promote physical activity, especially wireless consoles that require movement to control the game. These kinds of consoles are sometimes sold for exercise purposes.
As people play, the games that they play become popular, sometimes creating a fan base. These fans often share the same slang and language that they learned from the game, and more often than not, the language and culture of the game eventually spreads out of the fan base and become incorporated into popular culture.
Aside from enjoying the game, some gamers also earn from playing. Professional gamers earn a lot of money just by competing with other gamers from other parts of the world. Others earn money by selling items they get in-game. Some also earn by creating models and other items based on games.
Video games have also created subcultures between people playing the same game. They share the same language and the same experience of playing the same game. Most of these gamers tend to group together in conventions and gatherings of gamers, and an outsider would usually notice the difference between one subculture from the other.
There is also a debate whether playing games encourage gamers to become anti-social. At first glance, once would think that a gamer, who spends hours playing games inside their rooms are really anti-social, but upon closer look, you’ll know that they get to interact with other gamers through the games they play, especially if they play group games or team games. These kinds of multiplayer games function the same way as social networks do, wherein players/users connect with each other online, creating a network of people one can interact with.
Nowadays there are even social networks and messaging services meant for gamers to interact and share games with other gamers. When using these services, a gamer can play a game with a friend, making the experience better.
Gaming can be fun and enjoyable, and if you are really good at it, you can even earn money while having fun. Most gamers do not really get addicted, as opposed to what non-gamers think. Gamers are also social beings that interact with other people inside and outside the game.
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All people living in countries with excellent Internet connection enjoy all its benefits: web surfing, streaming and even online gaming. In the US, one can virtually do anything online, just by paying a few dollars.
However, there are talks of changing some rules about net neutrality, which can affect people’s habits in using the Internet.
What is net neutrality? In a nutshell, it is a policy that prohibits Internet Service Providers (ISP) to favor one company over the other, like making a website run faster with their service compared to other websites. It ensures that all websites can run on the same speed, depending on a person’s subscription.
However, some recent developments in the US can bring about selective Internet capping, which not only affect speed, but also the amount people has to pay.
For example, ISPs can enforce new policies wherein a person has to pay higher fees if he or she opts for faster streaming. ISPs can also offer packages wherein you can only browse selected websites, or you can browse all websites but at a slower rate than other websites such as Google, Yahoo or Facebook.
This will be possible as some websites, especially big ones, can pay higher than others, making it easier for ISPs to give them better service.
Of course, once websites decide to pay higher fees to ISPs, the cost will trickle down to users, who will have to pay higher fees just so they can stream or play games online.
Even when ISPs do not increase their prices, they can still implement data capping, which will be a big problem for gamers, especially as games tend to eat up a lot of space (and bandwidth). This means that users will be forced to pay higher prices just so they can download or play games.
At present, different stakeholders are still at court trying to get their voices heard. It may sound weird that there are people against net neutrality, but just like other business, business owners want to earn money, and they have to change some policies to earn more.
If an anti-net neutrality law comes into effect in the US, a lot of websites all over the world will be affected, just like what happened when the anti-piracy act was passed. And just like at that time, websites will have to find a way to continue providing free service without forcing their users and subscribers to pay more.
Also, if a law comes into effect, maybe game companies can opt to go back to how it was in the past: selling game cartridges and CD/DVDs instead of making content available online. This way, users can have more options, and gamers in particular can still enjoy their games without having to pay more.
As long as no new law has been passed, gamers can still enjoy playing online games and streaming without having to pay extra. Of course, we can just hope that net neutrality will prevail, keeping the Internet accessible and ‘free’ for all.