Social Aspects are Changing Classic Gaming


A decade ago, social gaming might have seemed like a contradictory term – after all, the image of the gamer as a sun-shy troglodyte is still pervasive today – but the advent of the internet meant that even the most solitary person could connect with people around the world.

Today, it’s possible to play most games either solo or in multiplayer modes but a few activities have benefited more than others from the always-on connectivity of the modern world. Here’s a quick look at just two of them – bingo and poker.


The traditional bingo experience of vast halls, colorful dabbers, and numbered cards is in decline in the West. An unexpected upside of that slump is the increasing diversity offered by the remaining bingo nights. For example, promoters in the UK are pushing “rave bingo”, two words that couldn’t be further apart in the images they conjure up.

Whether mid-dance or seated, bingo is the archetypical social game – it’s played as part of a night out. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why the closure of bingo halls might be mourned. Seniors, in particular, may have few other opportunities for social interaction so the recent rise of online bingo is especially welcome.

It’s now entirely possible to recreate a weekly bingo game online by joining up with a brand like bgo. Hosting a new chat game every few hours, bgo bingo has a game for just about everyone, with mobile play, a loyalty scheme (Candy Club), and range of variants, including 90 and 75-ball bingo and multiplayer experiences.

The beauty of mobile bingo is that it combines the interactivity of social media with a favorite pastime – it’s also a great way to avoid the rain and snow this winter.



It’s a bit of a reach to imply that poker has only recently become a social game; the classic card game has been a multiplayer experience since its inception. The addition of online functionality has significantly enhanced players’ opportunities for making friends though, especially for people who struggle to find a regular game in their neighborhood.

Let’s ignore the obligatory mention of sit n’ go games and skip right to the hyper-modern world of virtual reality (VR). Poker was one of the first games to have VR functionality on the Oculus Rift, the idea being that a virtual room could provide a link between the notoriously disparate worlds of online and offline poker.

Lots of poker brands have social experiences (bwin, for example, a brand known for its sports betting, allows players to keep a friends list, while Unibet posts a leaderboard to encourage competition) but the popularity of multi-tabling, or playing more than one game at a time, means that conversation sometimes gets lost in the rush.

The recent drive to include live, human dealers in games as varied as roulette and Texas Holdem is another effort to get players talking in game.

Finally, with outlandish projects like VR spectating of World Series of Poker events mentioned in iGaming circles recently, the potential of social gaming remains unrealized. Looking forward, expect bingo to become more eccentric as long as it remains popular with students, and poker to lean heavily on new technology to increase its popularity with younger players.