If there was perhaps one real positive to take from the global ongoing battle against COVID-19, it would surely be the nature that people have come together in ways never seen before.
As events outside have forced communities to retreat indoors, video calls, FaceTime and online fitness classes have become the norm in 2020.
The truth is no different for the video gaming community, with the platform more popular than ever, and in a new survey conducted by Virgin Media, the study reveals that gaming not only strengthens relationships, but can bring strangers together also.
Virgin's revealing study has confirmed gaming's place in society today, and as executive director of brand and marketing Cilesta van Doorn states, the virtual arena has become an environment for compassion.
"This year has shown that being able to connect with friends and family online is more important than ever."
Van Doorn adds: "This research shows how gamers are strengthening friendships: building their confidence and even finding love - all while playing video games online."
The study that surveyed 1,000 gamers revealed that three quarters of those polled said that the friends they've made during online gaming sessions felt more 'real', while four in 10 gamers asked revealed they feel like they've properly socialised after online gaming.
Perhaps, however, the most impressive finding was during times where talk is more important than ever. Seven in 10 of gamers said that they'd prefer to open up to their virtual friends about any personal problems, rather than talk about it with people they knew in person.
In a year that has seen new hit Fall Guys continue to break records, Mediatonic's brain child has kept both serious and casual gamers laughing in the most uncertain of times.
It seems gaming has taken on an even greater importance than ever before.
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