How friendships thrived in video games during the pandemic

Building and maintaining friendships can be tricky in the best of non-pandemic times. Months of isolation have limited and changed how people interact with their friends and shifted many relationships online. People have found creative ways to use all types of technology to socialize. They’ve gossiped more in group chats, FaceTimed with family, joined Reddit and Facebook Groups and hosted Zoom happy hours.

New friendships have been born, while others struggled or were put on pause, unable to make the transition from in-person to virtual.

Video games especially have become a necessary tether for people to friends they aren’t able to see as much, or at all, in person. Combined with phone calls, texts and chat tools like Discord, video games from battle royal “Fortnite” to the immersive world of “Roblox” are giving people a way to share fun, escapist experiences with each other when their shared reality is darker. They also act as a conduit for discussing the harder topics, like depression. Whether it’s shooting aliens together in near silence or opening up about feelings of loss, playing games is serving a valuable purpose.