Gaming is one of the fastest growing entertainment markets in the world today. It is widely accepted and advertised by nearly everyone, from media professionals to school officials to family and friends. Gaming involves many components, such as graphic user interface (GUI), which is the graphics part of a program or game that allows the user to interact with the application or game through a series of commands and visualizations, sound, which create the sounds of the game, the video, which produces the images of the game, and user input, which means that a user can interact with the game through the use of a mouse, keyboard, joystick, hand-held controller, or even gamepad. Video games may be played over a network using a personal computer or a gaming console, through a digital or an internet browser on a personal computer or personal device, or through a digital television network using a home broadband connection.
Gaming is not only an entertainment option but also a social activity. There are several websites and online communities devoted to gamers, where players can compete against each other in games such as racing, first-person shooter, strategy games, card games, and others. Games are often designed as a form of relaxation and recreation for those who participate, although recent trends suggest that gaming has become an increasingly important aspect of social and educational activities for college students. Many college students have been known to use video games to learn more about the world, achieve higher grades, enhance their critical thinking skills, and build their critical thinking abilities.
The popularity of online gaming has led to the development of a variety of new devices and technologies for consoles, computers, mobile phones, and handheld game consoles. New consoles such as the X-Box 360 and PlayStation 2 have provided high-quality game play that has resulted in a dramatic increase in the amount of game played by consumers. In addition, online gaming has opened up a new avenue for children to interact with each other and develop meaningful relationships. In some instances, game consoles have been adapted to support parental control features that enable parents to track in real-time how much time their children spend playing video games and, in some cases, have even provided parental control measures that prevent young children from engaging in certain types of gaming. Online gaming is most often associated with violence, but some studies indicate that children may play interactive games that are deemed to be at a younger level than the typical games that children are exposed to in the home.