One of the most untrue myths about gamers is that they’re all antisocial and awkward. In fact, gamers are some of the most social people online. Games are simply more fun when played together with others, and that’s true for both single-player and multiplayer games.
Are you looking for a social network where you can meet other like-minded gamers? I’ve got good news and bad news for you.
The bad news is that gaming social networks are passe. Most “Facebook for gamers”-type sites are defunct, abandoned, or gone. The good news is that there are plenty of faux social networks where you can chat and meme around with other gamers. Here are the best sites to check out if you need a bit more gaming chatter in your life.
Reddit should be your first stop for any gaming-related socialization. You may have heard horror stories about this site, but keep one thing in mind: Reddit is nothing more than a hub of independent communities (called “subreddits”).
Subreddits are user-driven: anyone can create a subreddit whenever they want. Some are nasty and unpleasant, but many aren’t. Each subreddit is run by different moderators, and the quality of a subreddit often depends on who’s running it. While the subreddit for Game X may be terrible, the subreddit for Game Y could be amazing.
Certain games may have multiple subreddits for different purposes. For example, League of Legends has a “main” subreddit where most of the general chatter happens, but also a “Summoner’s School” subreddit where newbies can learn and improve their play. Not sure where to start? Here are some tips for finding new subreddits!
For starters, you should check out these lesser-known gaming subreddits. Generally speaking, smaller subreddits are more pleasant because they have fewer spammers, complainers, and disruptive members. The default Gaming subreddit, for instance, is full of low-effort posts.
If you’re a gamer who has never used Discord before, you’re in for a treat! This wonderful app is a text/voice/video chat tool all wrapped up in one. Think of it like IRC meets Skype (if you’re old enough to remember what IRC is).
One great aspect of Discord is that anyone can create a Discord server. Each server can have as many chat channels as the server owner wants. Text channels are basically chatrooms, while voice channels are reminiscent of older apps like TeamSpeak, Mumble, and Ventrilo.
And as a Discord user, you can connect to as many servers as you want! You don’t have to leave one just to connect to another.
While Discord isn’t exactly a social network in the style of Facebook or Twitter, it’s the best way to get tapped into a community and make new friends. By now, every game has at least one Discord server where players congregate, so it’s a great way to find others who are into the same games as you are.
A lot of the bigger Discords also make use of Discord bots that add additional social features. These include badges, levels, music and video embedding, polls, reputation systems, customizable profiles, virtual currencies, and more.
Discord is also available as a mobile app for Android and iOS devices, so you can stay tapped into your favorite communities from anywhere. Learn more about what you can do in our overview of Discord for gamers.
Maybe you only use Steam for acquiring and managing games, but did you know that it’s essentially a social network as well?
Each individual game has a community hub where you can keep up with news about the game, take part in user-created discussion threads, participate in group chats, share screenshots and videos, and even write guides. Not all games make use of all these features, but most do.
When you’ve found friends through the community hub, or possibly in the game itself, you can add them as friends and keep up with each other on your Activity Feeds. You can also create customized profiles, leave comments on each other’s walls, create private or public groups where members can post threads, chat in real-time, and play games together.
If a social network is all about staying in contact and getting in touch when necessary, Steam is perfect for that. Its instant messaging features allows for text chat and voice chat, and the friends list makes it easy to see what games your friends are playing.
Twitch has revolutionized the gaming landscape. It’s a video site that provides a platform where anyone can stream their gaming sessions in real-time, allowing others to tune in and watch them at their leisure.
Yet Twitch is anything but “just” a streaming site. Entire communities can (and often do) build up around specific personalities and organizations, similar to what we’ve seen happen on YouTube. And because every stream has a chat beside it, fans can converse with one another while watching streamers play their games.
In this way, Twitch is very much the next big social networking site. You can friend other users, send whispers, and follow streamers — but that’s just the start of it. Twitch regularly adds new features to aid in socialization. These days, Twitch is vital for social gamers. Many streamers supplement with their own Discord servers, so you’ll likely have to use both to get fully tapped in.
But the biggest (and strangest) part of Twitch? Emotes! They’re like emojis, except specific to Twitch, and partnered streamers can even upload their own emotes. These emotes are like their own social currency: a single emote can convey a lot of meaning, and understanding what each one means is critical to being “in” with Twitch culture.
How Do You Socialize With Other Gamers?
PlayStation Network (PSN) and Xbox Live (XBL) both deserve an honorable mention because they both provide social features for console gamers, like finding and adding friends, sending and receiving messages, etc. But neither is full-blown enough that we’d consider it a true social network. That may change going forward, or it may not. Who knows?
If you prefer something more traditional, check out these big gaming forums where public gaming-related discussions are the main focus. Looking for love? You’ll fare better on one of these gamer dating sites.
Which of these gaming communities do you prefer? Are there any others we missed? Or are you more of a solo gamer? Share with us down in the comments!