From Warhammer Online to Fortnite, the last decade of online gaming has seen some dramatic changes.
Not only have massively multiplayer games become more popular, but casual gamers have found themselves turning to mobile games and web-based games more frequently.
Let’s take a look at the changes the online gaming community has seen — and what’s coming up in the future.
Warhammer Online is a sign of the times:
massive multiplayer online role-playing games are ever popular
Online Gaming Becomes a Staple for Video Game Releases
Whether on PC or console, the last decade saw even single-player games shipping with an online mode. Not only are players more interested in online play, but publishers are, too.
Having a compelling online mode reduces the chances that gamers will sell their games on a secondary market, thereby (hopefully) improving revenue for the game studio.
Dead Space has evolved from single player to online co-op
Modern gamers are more connected than ever before, and they want to be able to play even single-player games with their friends.
The proliferation of streaming and sharing is another indicator that players want to be able to play even single-player games with other people.
And there’s also the Nintendo Switch platform, which is designed around both online play and cooperative real-time play.
The always epic Legends of Zelda on Nintendo Switch
The Scope of Online Gaming Has Changed
In 2009, MMORPGs like World of Warcraft were the most popular type of online gaming. There were also smaller, team-based games like COD, which supported only dozens of players at a time.
FPS games like COD couldn’t support more players than this because of issues like internet speeds and latency; MMORPGs like World of Warcraft could support thousands of players, but only because they didn’t need to be able to transmit information as quickly.
Moving into 2019, technological advances mean that massive multiplayer realms are becoming popular.
These are FPS-style games and Battle Royale games that can support up to a hundred players in pitched combat.
Overwatch, a skilled multiplayer game, has become one of the most popular games in the world
Meanwhile, team-based online games like Call of Duty and Overwatch have remained popular and helped to fuel the eSports industry.
As the technology improves, it’s likely that faster-paced combat will be able to come to even larger worlds.
MMORPGs, of course, have also remained popular — with Final Fantasy XIV, released in 2013, now having 14 million users worldwide.
Final Fantasy is still as popular as ever
Mobile Games Are Rising in Popularity
Today, nearly everyone has a smartphone in their pocket. This has vastly increased the accessibility of mobile, online games. Casual gamers now outnumber gamers on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox platforms.
In 2009, Angry Birds took the world by storm with its single-player campaign — but by 2016, it was the online mobile game Pokemon Go that casual gamers were obsessed with.
The world went crazy for the augmented reality game of Pokémon Go
Casual games and online games have made gaming more mainstream, drawing in demographics that didn’t traditionally play games.
More people today play games on Facebook or small mobile games like Candy Crush than on dedicated gaming consoles, and this has also increased the popularity of gaming consoles and more conventional games.
We knew gaming had changed when Candy Crush became a global obsession
Web-Based Games Became More Accessible
It isn’t just mobile games, but web-based games that have become more accessible.
With increased global accessibility to the internet and affordable computers, web-based games have seen widespread use.
Today’s browser-based games are incredible: complex, multi-player and visually stunning
Nowhere has this change been more visible than the online casino industry.
Whereas in the past these games were available only at select locations, today users can gain access through the internet, and the industry has exploded.
Movement toward reality-based gaming
Of course, with the incredible advancement in graphics, games are now created to look and feel like the real thing – a window into what we can expect from virtual reality in the future.
The difference between reality and graphics is becoming slimmer.
This is a screenshot from the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077
Ironically, there has been a steady movement away from artificial intelligence as players tire of being challenged by bots and algorithms.
Rather, there has been an increased desire to play against real people, like the live casino at 777 featuring real croupiers instead of machines. When it comes to live casinos, the added human touch can make players feel more welcome and inclined to return – it also makes winning more satisfying!
Any gamer can tell you that it’s far more challenging to play against real, strategic and sometimes unpredictable players than a bot, particularly if they are skilled and practiced.
In PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds you play against 100 real challengers, all with their own strategies, skills and level of knowledge and practice
Overall, online gaming is becoming a very popular hobby even among a mainstream audience.
The last decade has seen advances in technology that make online gaming more accessible, while also introducing casual games to anyone with a smartphone.
Into 2019, the gaming community will see even more people playing casual games with each other — and additional support for larger, team-based games.
At the same time, the eSports industry means that the current franchises aren’t likely to go away, but rather improve.
As a passionate gamer since the 1990s, Vadim has kept his passion alive since then, and he is here to cover video games news, as well as to share with you all the novelties out there regarding gadgets or games-related tech.