Online games have come a long way since their inception a few decades ago. With technology growing in leaps and bounds, the demand for shinier graphics, more addictive gameplay and more immersive experience is higher than ever. As such, newer PC, laptops and consoles are consistently blowing their previous-gen counterparts out of the water.
More importantly, the bottleneck for the longest time was the internet quality and connection. Back in the 80s and 90s, it was 28kbps modems, but in the 2000s internet speed moved to broadband and really opened up the possibilities in the world of online gaming.
LAN parties became online networking, and soon gaming moved to handhelds, smart phones and tablets. Today, online gaming comprises a large chunk of the video game industry. Most games require a stable online connection, while in others it’s an added element.
Online Gaming Pioneers
In 1991, an ambitious game by the name of Neverwinter Nights added online capabilities as some kind of gimmick. Developed by Stormfront Studios, the RPG with the Dungeons and Dragons styling allowed players to compete with each other on Leaderboards. This added depth in the form of players replaying certain content to get to the top online rankings.
From there, newer PC games started adding online aspects. The first massive successes were FPS, or first person shooters such as Quake that allowed you to blast other players all over the world with guns. RTS’es, or real time strategy games followed suit.
Online games got an upgrade in the form of World of Warcraft. This MMORPG, or massively multiplayer online roleplaying game from game developer Blizzard peaked in 2008 and had 12 million subscribers playing, exploring and raiding the virtual world of loot and riches. Granted, World of Warcraft isn’t technically the first to do the online rpg thing, but for most people WoW was their very first experience.
Console Gaming Followed Suit
In 2000, Sega Dreamcast had an ethernet jack that allowed players to go online. Technology was there but for some reason it didn’t click with the gamers.
Internet play was finally accepted (and spread) with the release of then-future consoles Xbox360 and the Playstation 3. Online multiplayer deathmatches on popular games Halo and Call of Duty buzzed day and night all over the globe. Online marketplaces such as the Wii Shop Channel and Xbox Live Marketplace allowed players to purchase games and socialize with each other; Sony’s PSN and excellent networking platforms catapulted online gaming to the mainstream.
The Boom Of Real Money Online Gaming
Shortly thereafter, casino companies and game developers likely thought, “Why not make popular casino games such as roulette, blackjack and poker and introduce it to the general public?” At the same time, the idea to incorporate real money gaming really brought the point home and expanded traditional gambling’s reach to the masses.
Microgaming started churning out casino game titles with the opportunity to gamble and earn real money, which proved to be a massive success. Hundreds of thousands of game developers and companies soon followed suit, turning online gambling into a billion-dollar industry.
Technological improvements have made online casino gaming easier and more accessible than ever. Server space, graphics and mechanics have greatly improved. The advent of video and interactive platforms paved the way for live casino and even better immersion as you play in the comfort of your own home.
LiveMobile99 is one of the best casino games you can visit today. Choose from popular game titles and enjoy the online experience with the chance to win huge, real money jackpots!
Multiplayer Gaming And The Thrill Of Competition
What makes multiplayer games so appealing? Inherently, us humans love to compete to see who’s the best in any given sport or endeavor. Online multiplayer tapped on this basic human desire to compete, seen over the years on two-player matchups such as Pong on the Atari, 4-player dust-ups of GoldenEye on the Nintendo 64 and playing against the locals on a Street Fighter II arcade.
At the start, playing against one another was limited to a single room and having two or more gamepads connected to a game console. You can play two-player Mario Kart on the SNES, play hoops on Sega Genesis’ NBA Jam and free-for-alls on the Nintendo 64 with Smash Bros. Melee. The shift from living room multiplayer to online multiplayer started with Runescape in 2001. The MMORPG literally opened up the whole world as your playground, with millions of people interacting with each other in a persistent realm.
Competition level ramped up pretty quickly. Those who were king of the hill on their local arcades soon found themselves humbled when they went online. Fast internet speeds allowed almost instantaneous data sending and receiving, eliminating the pesky lag. Global leaderboards are now a part of a game’s main feature. Today, you can boot up Fortnite on your smart phone or League of Legends on your PC and start playing with the best gamers across the globe.
Smartphones Made Online Gaming What It Is Today
As internet speed grew the potential to make better games rose along with it. Consumers are now spoiled for choices compared to 20, 30 years before. Instead of having to choose only a handful of available games for your console, you now have millions of titles available to buy, rent or download on a number of devices. The proliferation of social media networking, Facebook in particular, opened up online social gaming. Zynga was one of the first developers to start creating Facebook games, with Mafia Wars, Farmville and the like leading the way. This created a sub-niche within the industry, dubbed as “casual gaming”.
It was not until the release of Android and iOS phones that mobile gaming really took off. Developers started realizing the potential and the profits to be had. A classic example is Angry Birds, which reaped millions during its heyday. The easy gameplay and deviously addictive nature spread to the mainstream, and soon everyone and their grandmothers know what Angry Birds is.
Millenials found on-the-go gaming very appealing, and the mobile game revolution began by filling this need. Now, every smartphone has a marketplace for downloading games, some of which extend gameplay by limiting players with “energy” and free lives. Candy Crush allowed you to play with 5 lives, and you’ll need to wait several hours until it recharged or buy lives using real money. This model became known as the “pay to win” where you need to shell out cash in order to unlock content, get premium powerups or progress to the next stage.
A Glimpse At The Future Of Online Gaming
The future is bright for the online gaming industry. Online casinos are getting better, there are more people using smart phones and game consoles are still going strong. On the horizon are VR technology, 4K gaming and interactive experiences. Moreover, AI technology and machine learning can bring gaming to a whole new dimension that’s both exciting and immersive.
We have the Oculus Rift, the Playstation VR and Virtuix Omni, which allows you to walk around in place for when you’re playing virtual reality games. Mobile games are not slowing down, and with each hardware upgrade the pixels and graphics are becoming more shiny. Soon, we’ll be able to look down at a virtual poker table, use hand motions to place bets, chips or pull the lever and maybe even carry conversations with online players gathered around the table!