As social animals, human beings have been connecting in a variety of ways for thousands of years. There is evidence that suggests that games have been a part of that for centuries, for bonding and bringing people together.

Originally, games were a way of socialising and bringing people together to try and beat the odds in games of chance or master the intricacies of games of skill and logic. As technology advanced, so too did the variety and availability of games that could now be mass-produced and distributed internationally.

But by the 1950s, the birth of computer gaming began to change the way people viewed gaming and the nature of the games that they played. No longer was a real-life opponent needed to enjoy the fun of playing games – computers could replace the need for a human to interact with, allowing people to play more advanced games by themselves.

Since the very early days of home computing, when Pong was considered the height of gaming sophistication, video games have been a popular choice. Those who enjoy the challenge of pitting themselves against a digital opponent have contributed to an industry that supports a variety of virtual worlds.

Video gaming – from solo pursuit to multi-player adventure

While the first games loaded painfully slowly from cassette tapes onto boxy computers in the homes of early adopters, it wasn’t long before the rise of video game arcades saw a whole new generation of gamers coming together to play. The enthusiasm with which gaming went from a solo activity to one that could be shared with friends demonstrated the potential for a lucrative market.

It wasn’t long before savvy tech companies realised that there was money to be made from gamers playing together, and multiplayer games were just the beginning. As the internet proliferated, it provided the means to bring gamers together to play online, and the video gaming industry evolved once again.

Gaming became a way to socialise again, with people coming together to play games with friends and early gaming tournaments encouraging gamers to pit their skills against one another. Fans of particular games could ‘meet’ online to share their passion for playing and games designers created worlds that could be shared and enjoyed by players no matter where they were.

Many genres of games emerged, from those that pitted players against one another in competition, to those where gamers could collaborate to achieve a shared goal. Multiplayer options allowed games to take on new dimensions as people could join together to share their expertise in creating gaming experiences that simply could not be replicated in the ‘real’ world.

A new generation of gamers

As the gaming industry adapted to the new technology the means to create games that were dynamic and could be altered to suit the players became a huge industry. Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOs) changed the way people felt about video games as they provided alternative worlds where the goal wasn’t always to win, but simply to enjoy the experience of playing.

Games such as Minecraft, Farmville, and Second Life provided an alternative to purely competitive games, allowing players to replicate the more detailed gameplay of offline role- playing games. Increased access to the internet and better connection speeds meant that players from all over the world could join virtual games and play together, whether that was tending a farm or completing complex quests.

Online communities built up around the various different games, allowing players to talk to one another to share tips and advice as well as plan their next move and discuss their strategies. From in-game chat functions to social media communities and entire websites dedicated to gaming talk, games designers and players created opportunities for players to collaborate.

The future of multiplayer gaming

While there are new games coming to the market every day, gamers have retained a significant interest in traditional games such as those played in casinos. Online casinos have made it possible to play all the most popular games online, with new themes and a variety of gaming options providing new ways to enjoy old favourites.

While online casinos made it possible for people to play together, mobile gaming apps allowed them to play on the go, making multiplayer gaming even more convenient. Mobile gaming allows players to get together and play on different devices in the same room or join games whenever and wherever they are to enjoy online casino games whenever their schedules allow.

Many online casino providers recognised the enthusiasm that gamers had for this shared experience and rose to the challenge of recreating the fun of a live casino in digital form. Improvements in technology made live streamed games a possibility, offering players the chance to enjoy the atmosphere and excitement of playing with a real dealer, with the convenience of playing online.

While the essence of casino games has remained the same, developers have adapted their designs to allow more multiplayer activity. By encouraging this side of the gaming industry, players can enjoy another side of the game that isn’t possible when playing alone.

The means to play games together have changed and adapted as technology has evolved, but the human urge to collaborate has remained constant. The gaming industry of the 21st century provides the means for players to not only communicate and collaborate, but also to adapt and change the worlds in which they play to suit their needs.