If you were to come across this alpha-numeric symbol – FM1040, you might think it was a tax form, or a radio station, depending on your frame of reference. We recently had friends over and as we sat eating and talking about the latest news, weather and sports, a message popped up on the big screen television from FM1040 letting the gamers of the world know he or she was available to play. My guests, who have no children, and have never played a video game, were startled by the message, and by the one from SkullKrusher that followed.
“How do they know we’re here?” they asked. “Can they see what we’re doing?” We had a good laugh as I explained it was actually a gamertag, the alter ego used in the parallel universe inhabited by Xbox gamers. It was a teachable moment, and I explained to the best of my ability, that my grandsons were avid gamers, and their parents had just as much fun gaming as they did.
I knew nothing about this strange world until I moved in with them so my daughter could go back to school. From then on, if I asked my grandsons what they wanted for a gift or birthday present, it was always a new game or something game related. That’s how I became acquainted with Origin, a leading supplier of games and gear for those who love to play. I explained that there is a world- wide community of billions of players who connect anonymously and play thousands of different games for hours. Some never meet, some attend the huge conventions that are held around the world throughout the year and finally meet after playing against each other for years. When I showed them the calendar of upcoming conventions, their mouths fell open. Gaming generates huge revenue, and families like mine have lots of expenses for entertainment at tax time each year.
But there was one tip Grandma could give them, and that was to use a Groupon to purchase their games online, for less. Now they save as much as 76% off Origin deals by using special promo codes, save 33% on selected games and other merchandise, and even down load special releases ahead of the crowd. By the time the evening ended, we had made up our own gamertags. Mine was not as good as SkullKrusher – she’s the 13-year old who lives around the block.