Almost as soon as computers were developed, computer games followed. With any major shifts in technology, users found ways to create, play, host, and network gaming activities.
Online playing, or using the internet to challenge other gamers based in remote locations, has thus been in existence for decades. However, since the internet did not become available widespread until the mid 1990s, the term “online gaming” was not a commonly used or understood phrase. Now, anyone with access to modern technology instantly understands the concept, even if they may not be users of this form of entertainment.
Advances in online gaming have continued to have enormous following and success. The affect on the global gaming industry is vast and still largely untapped as technology continues to evolve.
Advances in Online Gaming
The building of computer machines began in the 1950s. Often, college students and interns found ways to create entertainment in their work by making games for the systems. As soon as the first multi-player game was established, it didn’t take longer for users to envision remote connections with gamers elsewhere.
Here is a brief overview of a few of the major advances in online gaming since then:
- 1960s and 1970s – The first multi-player computer games were developed for use on the PLATO computer terminal system. Access was shared via time-sharing while users played at different terminals. This system was also boasts the first online chat community.
- 1974 – “Internet” became a term used to describe the “internetworking” of computers.
- 1984 – The first global Massive Multi-player Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) was developed for the worldwide BITNET network system. The game was called Multi Access Dungeon (MAD). Players from the USA, Israel, France, and beyond actively participated in the game.
- 1991 – Sega created a multi-player online gaming system for their consoles using NetLink to connect devices. The success was huge.
There are many other milestones and subjective favorites that could be added to the list above. For the purposes of this article, the list is shortened just to give an overview of some of the key developments leading to today’s online gaming industry.
The next big step in online gaming will be the inclusion of virtual reality simulators to enhance game play.
The New Global Gaming Industry
Online gaming has grown exponentially with each passing year. What does this mean for the global gaming industry? Essentially, more growth in some ways,
The more users that connect with each other through online games, the more information and excitement that is passed between them. A game that was invented in Taiwan may be introduced to a gamer in Poland, who then introduces it to all her Polish friends. If the game is available via a cloud host or app, then the game has crossed international borders without any import or export taxes, tariffs, or shipping fees.
For manufacturers of traditionally packed and shipped physical games, this may call for a reconsideration of goal and objectives. As cloud hosting becomes more affordable and reliable, the need for a conventional copy of a game may become obsolete.
For gamer publishers, this means less production costs and more sales. With cloud gaming, opportunities to reach new communities of gamers are easier than ever. Online advertising platforms and media publishers also are likely to gain from this twist, since campaigns will be placed on online venues for gamers to easily see.
All in all, some participants in the gaming industry may lose, but for the most part there is much to gain as online playing increases.
[Photo Credit: NASA]