To the millennial generation and those who have followed, online gaming seems like a natural part of the gaming ecosystem. However, those who remember the days of computer networking back in the 1970s know just how far the industry has come in the last fewdecades. Even the last 10 years, online gaming has been subject to a dramatic overhaul. Much of this shift has been fueled by the proliferation of digital technologies in all its guises. Through numerous conduits from online communities to payment systems, tech has changed the world of online gaming.
With internet connectivity skyrocketing across the world and games no longer requiring hardware and instead played entirely in cyberspace, gaming has become even more popular. When initially established, the online gaming industry relied on internally connected computers and devices, limiting interaction to those who within were within either a restricted physical or technological proximity. The implementation of broadband completely changed the game – excuse the pun. This now means that opponents rarely face each other in reality and instead play anonymously with those around the world.
This connectivity has rendered single-player gaming to the history books and gamers prefer to face a real opponent. In today’s world of online gaming, there is always somebody willing to play. This multi-player format, which now dominates, is said to be responsible for not only encouraging people to play longer but also improving gaming standards by playing stronger competition.
As with all inventions and technologies, computers, and more recently smartphones, were an expensive commodity and unaffordable to most when they were first released. Through the last 10 years, we have witnessed an explosion in device ownership around the world. This has been across the board from laptops to phones – both of which are the main devices through which people choose to play games online.
A reported 68% of adults in advanced economies now own a smartphone and the number is rising exponentially in emerging markets too. Global internet usage has also risen dramatically and is only set to continue into future decades. This proliferation in tech ownership has given access to online gaming to billions of more people and the rise of smartphones specifically means that people can play wherever and whenever they want. Gamers no longer play in the evenings when they are wed to their desktop computers but also on their way to work, during their lunch breaks and in non-traditional gaming environments such as cafes and bars.
Real Money Gaming
Real money gaming has been touted as the next billion-dollar opportunity for our increasingly globalised economy. New digital payments systems have made it even easier for gamers to raise the stakes and play for money. While there have been some concerns over the amounts of money online gamers are risking, the offline world has been harnessing this revenue for many decades. Agile technology now means that not only can you play for money through games which are new to the market but also to traditional games, historically played offline, such as casino table games.
It’s not only rapid technological changes which have occurred over the years, but there have also been significant cultural shifts in those who choose to participate in the world of online gaming. It’s a common idea that many those playing online games are young, reclusive men with an ardent interest in technology and few social and communication abilities. It is now reported that each household now has an average of 1.7 gamers rendering the notion that it is a niche hobby null and void. Statistics also revealed that 41% of those who play online games are also women. The average woman active in the online gaming community is 44 years of age, demonstrating that it not only young men who take to their devices to play the very latest in games.
Largely thanks to many of the developments we have discussed, blogs and forums have opened spaces for the community to operate. These interactive platforms not only foster a sense of community in the gaming industry but they encourage participation and drives sales through the sharing of tips, reviews, recommendations and gaming strategy. Some of the most successful bloggers and influencers around now focus, at least in part, on the world of online gaming.