One of the big lies about gamers is that they’re all anti-social. In my experience, the flipside is true: gamers love to socialize (though their preferred methods of communication do skew towards the digital). That’s why so many modern gaming forums are huge.
Like sports, there are ways to enjoy games other than playing them. Gaming podcasts have been around a while, but more recently, there’s been a shift towards watching others livestream their sessions (which is common in competitive gaming).
But forums will never die, as evidenced by the following massive gaming communities that have been around for ages and show no signs of stopping any time soon.
NeoGAF actually launched as Gaming-Age Forums way back in 1999 as the message boards for Gaming-Age, a website for gaming news and reviews that still exists to this day. Around 2003, the forum’s database was corrupted, and in 2004, the forum relaunched anew as NeoGAF.
Today, NeoGAF sits in the Top 1000 most-visited websites in the United States according to Alexa and is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) gaming forums on the Web. In fact, NeoGAF is commonly referred to as a megaforum for this reason.
With over 700,000 threads and 95 million posts, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a larger gaming community.
GameFAQs launched back in 1995, making it one of the oldest gaming-related websites to survive 20 years on the Internet. It started as a repository of user-written walkthroughs and FAQs for all kinds of games, but eventually expanded to include other aspects like reviews and forums.
GameFAQs is somewhat unique in that it dedicates a separate message board to every single video game in its database. So, for example, if you want to discuss League of Legends, then you’ll have to visit that game’s page to get to that specific board.
You can also visit the main boards if you want to discuss topics that aren’t specific to a single game. There you’ll find system-specific boards (e.g. Xbox 360), special interest boards (e.g. game design), and other boards unrelated to gaming.
3. IGN Boards
Though IGN as a website covers all kinds of media entertainment, its main focus rests on gaming. News and reviews make up the core of its content, but it also publishes less serious content from time to time, such as Easter Egg finds and opinion pieces.
Similarly, IGN’s forums span all kinds of topics beyond video games, including anime, comics, sports, hardware, and even current events. But gaming is its heart and soul, and there’s no shortage of discussions to take part in here.
The IGN Boards don’t have the same level of granularity as, say, the GameFAQs boards, so it may feel a bit chaotic and disorganized. However, the IGN community is marginally nicer and more mature than other gaming communities, which is definitely a point in its favor.
At one time, GameSpot was one of the premier resources for top-notch gaming news and reviews, but has fallen down a few pegs over the last decade or so. It’s still a worthwhile site though, and continues to bring in millions of viewers every month.
Hopping over to the GameSpot Boards, you’ll soon notice that there’s a lot of activity. Between the General and Platform forums, I see over 35 million posts. GameSpot users may have a reputation for being on the spammy side, but it’s really not that bad, and even so, 35 million is impressive.
One complaint I have is that, like the IGN Boards, the GameSpot Boards lack granularity. A forum for “Games Discussion” is simply too broad for me, but I realize that’s subjective. Maybe that’s exactly what you want.
It would be disingenuous to compile a list of massive gaming communities and skip over Reddit, which happens to be one of the largest communities on the Web, period. In fact, Reddit is probably the most relevant online community at this time, so don’t overlook it.
With over 9.5 million members, /r/Gaming is simply enormous. It’s also quite shallow with 90% of upvoted posts consisting of memes, image macros, and fluff. But as a way to kill time and have a few laughs, nothing beats it.
If you’re looking for more serious and thoughtful discussions, consider one of these lesser-known gaming subreddits instead. /r/TrueGaming, which was an offshoot of /r/Gaming, is actually one of the more sociable subreddits out there thanks to its quality of discussions.
With World of Warcraft in 2004, MMORPGs exploded in popularity and became one of the largest gaming genres to hit the scene. Today, there are so many great MMORPGs you can play, and what’s funny is that sometimes it’s more fun to talk about them than actually play them.
And while you could potentially have these discussions on any big gaming forum, you’d be better off with a community that’s dedicated to the genre. That’s where MMORPG.com comes in, which is home to the largest MMORPG community on the Web. New or old, paid or free, it’s here.
One thing to note: even though MMORPGs can help with self-improvement, the genre as a whole can be incredibly addictive. Be careful that you don’t succumb to video game addiction, as that could have long-term negative effects on your life.
It’s kind of crazy that Minecraft is one of the best-selling video games of all time, isn’t it? What’s even crazier is that the game is still immensely popular, likely due to the fact that you can modify the game in so many cool ways to keep it fresh day after day.
I shouldn’t be surprised that Minecraft Forum has over 4.2 million members and 28 million posts, but I am. That makes it larger than most online gaming communities, let alone ones that are dedicated to a single game. Very impressive, I have to say.
At any given time, Minecraft Forum has hundreds of members browsing through it along with thousands of unregistered guests. Anyone who’s a big fan of Minecraft should really join in and participate.
Which Gaming Forum Is Best?
I’m sure there are several other high-profile gaming forums that I didn’t include, so please feel free to let me know about them in the comments below.
But before you hop into your next game, make sure you aren’t subjecting yourself to these potentially dangerous gaming injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain, and pulled muscles. Not only that, but be aware that games could be feeding your depression as well.
Which gaming forums do you like the best? Or have you moved onto more modern forms of community, like YouTube and Twitch? Share your thoughts with us on this topic in the comments below!