It's 2010. Yet the general public doesn't consider gaming a form of media, more of a very expensive hobby for most. So why aren't movies, books, television or music considered a mere "hobby" and gaming is?
One word: Fear. And where does this come from? Real life. People hate video games because the medium allows you to do things that other forms of media don"t, decide. Anyone who claims to know anything about life knows that every decision you make comes with consequences attached. Most human beings avoid that word and what it represents as a plague.
Television cannot do decisions, nor books, movies or music. It is all stagnant pre-determined fates. Consumers are in the hands of producers, directors, writers and musicians. But in gaming we, the players, are the artists, the painters, the creator's. Yet we are stereotyped as shut ins, overweight pimple filled humans and losers for embracing this new media.
We are also the warriors of this media's chosen army. Talking amongst ourselves on forums, comparing experiences and competing over digital landmarks. So how can this chose media increase its "population cap"? Keep talking, but not to other members of the army, to the new recruits.
Ask yourself questions and give yourself worthwhile answers. Why after 3 years do you play Halo 3 night after night? What compels you forward in World of Warcraft? Your decisions killed a party member for good in Mass Effect, so why did you make them? Why that one particular character and not the chat-y scientist? Until the army of gamers stops and figures out what it is trying to accomplish, and more importantly why it is trying to accomplish it, gaming will forever live in the realms of hobbies.
So what if the person you are talking to doesn't understand why killing the Lich King or reaching another level in your prestige is a big deal. Describe why it matters to you and how good it felt to make that decision. Then maybe they will decide to get up, turn on the console and make their own decisions.