Video game culture has a reputation for being a nerdy indoor hobby -- gamers sit in their rooms or their mothers' basements staring at the TV day in and day out, never going outside to socialize with their peers. Even if that image may be accurate for some gamers, the anti-social stigma of video gaming fans has never been less true. Internet connectivity has been a part of PC gaming since the 1990s with online multiplayer games like "Quake," and since the launch of Xbox Live in late 2002, Internet gaming has grown into a huge feature on consoles as well.
Thanks to high speed Internet connectivity, gamers can play with one another from across the globe. Some games are even designed for millions of simultaneous players. Blizzard's "World of Warcraft" has more than 10 million subscribers paying a monthly fee to log onto servers and play in a virtual world populated by other gamers [source: Gamasutra]. Microsoft's Xbox Live service has 23 million subscribers [source: Technet].
More and more games are designed with cooperative play or competitive multiplayer in mind; time spent playing games often means time spent socializing. While competitive gaming also brings out a lot of trash talk in online communities, online play gives gamers the opportunity to spend time with distant friends or make new ones.