Even though many veteran gamers are increasingly alarmed at how most contemporary games are becoming ever more online focused, the fact is developers are simply giving what the majority want. Online play is now considered as more important than a single player experience, especially in titles which lend themselves to this format such as sports, racing and of course FPS.
Even the major online casinos such as allslotscasino.com are trying to encourage people to play together online, and hope that emerging technology such as VR will finally go the way. So how did online gaming get to where it is today?
Huge Increase In Online Participation
A decade ago, the active participation in online play wasn’t close to what it is now. Split screen multiplayer still ruled co-operative games, which was always going to be flawed especially for the competitive FPS genre. This is despite broadband being pretty much ubiquitous and consoles being designed for online connectivity. However, there were a few big moments in 2007 which really showcased the potential in online gaming.
The most obvious has to be the rise in popularity of mass participation, open world games. Previously the preserve of PC platforms, the likes of World of Warcraft demonstrated that literally millions of people could play effectively together over a near limitless map. All without the dreaded lag and server downtimes that had been long considered to be a major drawback in online gaming. Adapting this to console gaming made a huge impact and before long the new generations of the COD series were regularly attracting seven-figure participation 24 hours a day.
Yet while PC/console gaming was only ever going to grow it was the arrival of the smartphone which made online gaming as huge as it is today. It’s believed that 7/10 new owners of smartphones install a game within their first few days of taking ownership. Many of these games are online – from the likes of standard chess whereby strangers can play each other from vastly different time zones through to blockbuster titles that even include elements of augmented reality (which alongside VR is set to be the next big thing).
Perhaps even more significant is that smartphone gaming is a much more gender-balanced industry. Females play online games via their phones way more than on any other format. That’s a huge and otherwise little previously tapped source of participation and of course revenue to games companies. Also, it’s worth factoring in that many game apps are available for ‘free’ yet require investment to add additional features. Online casinos have seen a similarly huge increase in participation by offering casual slots available for free play – an ideal way to pass a few casual minutes.
All this brings us back to the present day where online gaming is for many players the de-facto way they enjoy their gaming. Proof of this can be seen in the incredible surge in popularity of e-sports. Just a couple of years ago it was considered a fringe activity which was quite frankly the preserve of serious geeks. Now it attracts multi-million dollar franchise and broadcasting rights, with viewership figures that are starting to challenge some of the more frequently broadcast sports.
Demographics are again key to this success. The majority of viewers/participants are young adults with a handy disposable income they’re willing to spend. All of the most popular games – Counterstrike and League of Legends, for example, are played by millions of players online every day. This fanbase is knowledgeable about the games they are viewing and have participated themselves – few can say the same about elite level traditional sports. This competitive aspect is self-perpetuating because the more exposure players have to watch the best compete, the more they will be encouraged to play and pay.
The Future Of Online Gaming?
While there will always be room for epic, story-based one player games the fact is that games companies looking to generate mass participation and profit will continue to look towards encouraging online gaming. It is anyone’s guess how much further this will go, but we’re already seeing encouraging signs that VR technology is clearly headed towards a mass participation style of gaming. The tech is basically perfect to take it to the next level, which will be sweet music to the ears of the big franchise games and of course casino bosses.