It’s fair to say that 2020 wasn’t the year for socialising. It’s also fair to say that 2021 has kicked off in much the same manner. Yes, for many it’s a lonely old time, with the inability to see friends or family, as well as being unable to enjoy the likes of gigs, sport and other forms of entertainment.

While many are missing the hugs and embraces, others are missing the bustling communities that make up such social activities. However, there are alternatives, and the world of online gaming has really thrived over the last 12 months. But what communities should you be a part of?

If you want to get your year started with a little more excitement, we’ve highlighted the five best online gaming communities below. So, what’re you waiting for?

1. Bingo

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Online bingo has grown at a phenomenal rate over the past few years, to the point where it’s introduced a brand new audience to the game. The rise of online is having a significant impact offline too, with 2019 seeing bingo halls across the likes of the UK and the US filling up after a period where they were indeed fighting for survival.

Where once you’d perhaps think of bingo as a game for the older generation. However, with the introduction of games such as slingo bingo and roulette bingo it’s welcoming a new breed of player, to the point where the demographic has switched significantly. In fact, a recent YouGov poll found that almost 30% of players online are now in the 25-34 demographic.

That’s helping create a really unique online community, with people of all ages chatting and enjoying the chat games found in bingo rooms. What’s more, playing with major brands such as Moon Bingo means you’re also in a trusted and safe space in which the chat rooms themselves are monitored and even have their own host, just like you’d find in a bingo hall.

Throughout last summer, online bingo was booming as people sought out communication and socializing elsewhere, and it’s become a really welcoming community which any bingo fan should try.

2. FIFA

FIFA online has long been a go-to for football fans, and many people who were used to playing offline have switched over the past 12 months, developing an even larger community.

There are around 40 million FIFA 20 players, and many have also picked up the new FIFA 21 game. Previously, the FIFA community has been considered a little toxic, with plenty of bad habits coming into play, such as mocking or showboating. That has changed a little more recently though and it’s become a valued part of people’s social lives.

Not only can you play against people all around the world, you are also able to hook up with your own friends for a game, making it the ideal alternative to the pub, or even a live match. You can set up leagues, making it a regular occasion, while you’ll also find many tournaments where you can win real prize money too. It’s certainly one to consider for any sports fan who enjoys a bit of gaming.

3. Team Fortress 2

As well as FIFA, shooters also have a habit of getting a bit feisty, but Team Fortress 2 couldn’t be more different. The game has a notoriously friendly community and is comfortably the most welcoming first person shooter out there.

Of course, there are some people who like to spoil it for everyone, but you’ll find many casual and experienced players are simply there for the laugh. It’s a really laid-back game and as it’s a team game it’s great for making friends relatively quickly. There are mixed skill games and the possibility of joining a game to suit your own skills, which is completely different to the more competitive games within the genre.

If you’re completely new to gaming and are thinking about trying a first-person shooter, then this is a good place to start. You might need to shop around to find the right server for you, but once you have you’ll find a community ready and waiting to welcome you with open arms.

4. Words With Friends 2

Of course, not all gaming has to have mega graphics and offer a thrill a minute. In fact, some mobile gaming communities are up there among the very best. Words With Friends is ideal for the more intellectual who wish to challenge their brains, and their friends, to a game of Scrabble.

The app can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices and you can play against players from all around the world, as well as inviting friends to play. The aim of the game is simple, to create words on the gaming board and pick up points. The player with the most points wins.

While some games can get tense in terms of the match itself, players have a great reputation for being friendly in the in-built chat, encouraging each other, and generally just having a natter about life and their week. Unlike many of the names above, it’s one on one conversation rather than a group, but that shouldn’t stop you from having a good time.

5. Animal Crossing

While the community isn’t built into the game on this one, the Animal Crossing community is hugely popular with players, with a number of forums and Reddit channels, as people share their work on the game with others.

It’s a real stress reliever and can not only provide players with the conversation but also plenty of inspiration too. You’ll also find plenty of tips and tricks to keep you going, alongside guides and other sources to help. What’s more, if you’re an expert yourself, you can help other players as they look to get started and keep the Animal Crossing community alive and kicking.

Sites such as Animal Crossing Community have become not only places to discuss the game, but also life too, with many people forging friendships all over the world, all because of a common interest and some good natured discussion.

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