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Video games have long suffered the negative connotation that they are an unnecessary, mind-numbing, anti-social hobby for people to have. When we think of the idea of a "gamer," we think of a person, usually male, with his eyes focused solely on a screen, his room a mess, unhygienic, and living off of junk food. Societal conventions would have us believe that this person has no #Social Skills to speak of, doesn't go outside more than he considers strictly necessary, and is likely unemployed. But this is not so; for several reasons, and the idea of what we, as a society, consider to be a "gamer," has drastically changed.

Gaming and employability/social skills

Thanks to Twitch.tv and Youtube, many gamers are now making a living from being a Professional Livestreamer, and with this occupation, comes social interaction.

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Being a successful Livestreamer doesn't mean simply switching your game on and hitting start on Twitch, it means interacting with your followers on the platform. Most gamers will be recording themselves and their real-time reactions as they play, so there's focus on both their ability to communicate in a written and verbal sense, as well as showing their body language and facial expressions to a large audience.

With this insight, we can see that gaming includes a range of both social and employable skills. Public speaking, for one, which every 'Streamer would exhibit due to the various ways they communicate while gaming. Organisation and problem solving are other apt examples; even gamers who don't game as a career would still need to be able to correctly set up their games and gaming systems, as well as being able to choose a time when they can play/stream without being interrupted by other commitments like work (if they have another job) or study.

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Communication and social interaction

Through online gaming, gamers are more likely to find other people with similar interests, and it's simple to start a social interaction with a friend request because platforms like Steam, Origin, and Battle.net [VIDEO] all have chat capabilities.

Talking online is no different to talking to someone in person, the main change is the addition of a face to accompany the name. All social skills that gamers use online can be directly transferred to "real life" situations. Instead of discussing the game, the gamer can discover other individuals hobbies and interests. Being a gamer doesn't inherently make you an anti-social person, it actually makes you more social, because you're willing to strike up conversations with complete strangers.

In fact, a study published in the January 2014 edition of American Psychologist explains the "social benefits of gaming," citing several other studies and surveys from 2008 to 2012 that all show the positive, prosocial nature of gaming, especially online, and co-operative games where the individual plays with other people.

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"One study that summarized international evidence... found that playing prosocial video games consistently related to, or predicted, prosocial behaviors (Gentile et al., 2009)." (American Psychologist, Granic et al., P. 73, 2014)

The end game

There are plenty of career options available for gamers. Obviously, there's the option of turning your passion for #Online Gaming into a career by being a Professional Livestreamer, or creating content for your own Youtube channel, but there's also the option of working in retail at game-based stores, Customer service, working in Game Development, or furthering your passions for gaming at College/University by committing to courses that would enable you to work in the Gaming sector.

The skills you learn while gaming may not be something you pick up on right away, but they are all skills that you need day-to-day. Gaming is not an anti-social hobby to have, and if you feel comfortable with it, there really isn't a need to stop. However, just because you can game and make a career, doesn't mean you have to. Gaming itself can be tension-reliving, and a very good escape from daily life. It's fun, a creative outlet, and a good use of imagination. #Employability