MIT Technology Review: Why games like Animal Crossing are the new social media of the coronavirus era

MIT Technology Review: Why games like Animal Crossing are the new social media of the coronavirus era. “Released in September, Kind Words was originally designed as an antidote to an increasingly vitriolic internet environment, says co-creator Ziba Scott. In recent weeks, though, it’s taken on an additional role as a comforting, safe way for people to communicate. Last week, the game saw an increase of 17,000 messages from the week before, many of which included words like ‘quarantine,’ ‘covid,’ and ‘sick,’ says Scott. Chris Ferguson, a video game researcher at Stetson University, says that games like Kind Words and Animal Crossing are following in the footsteps of microniche online communities that have popped up over the past few years. Much of the game play is built around the relationships that gamers can form with like-minded players. That’s especially important in the coronavirus era.”