Modern-day online games owe a lot of their success to the pioneers of yesteryear. The biggest entertainment industry in the world had to start somewhere, which is why we’ve decided to take a closer look at the origins of online games. In this article, you can find how have online video games.
When did online gaming start its rise to ubiquity? How did it manage to garner such immense popularity in a relatively short amount of time? Join us as we look at all the differences of past vs present gaming, including how it began, when it hit mainstream audiences, as well as the possibilities for the future of online games.
The dawn of online gaming
Back when the first computers were invented, we used games to test their performance. Similarly, when the internet was introduced to the world, video games were used to test its efficacy. From as far back as the 1940s, games have proven the viability of a number of modern technologies, such as networking and host-based connectivity, for example.
What defines an online game? Technically speaking, any game that requires an online connection is an online game, regardless of whether it’s single-player or multiplayer. If we use this definition then online games were introduced to the public in the late 1970s; when the first packet-based computer networks allowed for multiplayer real-time virtual worlds.
Otherwise known as MUDs, the first examples of multiplayer games were originally confined to internal networks. However, by the end of 1980, with the worldwide web fast becoming a reality, online games officially began their transformation into commercial products.
The first online RPG ever to be released, named Islands of Kesmai, debuted in 1984. It represented the first step towards what would eventually become the MMORPG genre we know today. Over the next decade, many online games were released and, thanks to the rapid availability of the internet throughout the 1990s, many of these early online games experienced significant success in terms of sales.
After 1999, video game consoles started receiving online capability. Platforms like Playstation 2 and Xbox were the first consoles to successfully introduce multiplayer gaming to a large audience. Even though computers had plenty of online titles by this point, the accessibility of consoles was a major drawcard for many consumers.
The 2000s introduced the MMO genre to the world. In 2004, the release of World of Warcraft gave us the first taste of a true MMO game. Millions of gamers could barely contain their excitement, and the game would end up dominating the newly-minted genre for the better part of a decade. Nowadays, there are quite a few MMO games that offer some much-needed variety in the genre, such as Final Fantasy XIV and Guild Wars 2.
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From past to present
The vast majority of modern games require an online connection. Even if you’re playing a single-player game, it’s quite rare these days to find a game that can be played completely offline. While online connectivity makes sense in terms of agile game development, it also introduces problems like the infamous ‘release it now and patch later’ mentality that plagues many development studios.
On the bright side, online connectivity offers social interaction, quick access to game updates, and the opportunity for healthy competition. It creates the foundation for a community of like-minded individuals, evidenced by the near-infinite number of forums, fan pages, and Reddit groups found online.
Trends for the future
From MMOs to battle royales, MOBAs to hero shooters, video game genres keep shifting, bringing in new elements and discarding outdated mechanics. No one can know for sure what the next big craze will be, but there are certain trends to look out for, such as future game releases, hiring trends in game development, and the most popular games at any given point in time.
At the moment, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is the most successful game in the world. With over 1 billion downloads of the mobile version alone, it’s safe to say that the majority of gamers are already familiar with this battle royale and its history. If we take a look at the creator’s next project, simply named Prologue, the player count is by far the biggest upgrade.
Prologue aims to provide a truly massive battle royale with support for thousands of players in a single session. If you think 64-player gunfights can get chaotic, imagine what a fight between thousands of players would be like. For Brendan Greene, the creator of PUBG and Prologue, this scale of battle royale was always an objective, limited by technology up until now.
From MUDs all the way to MMO-style battle royales, online games offer an incredible amount of diversity in terms of graphics, gameplay, and game engines. For better or worse, practically every video game genre has been affected by online connectivity, but it’s fairly safe to say that the good far outweighs the bad, and we’re excited to see what comes next for online games.