While at first online games were simple and possessed a limited feature set that prevented players from a full immersion experience, the development of graphic interfaces and broadband Internet networks changed the gaming landscape. Online gaming experiences depend on the network connection, at least partially. Some games use online leaderboards; others create complex worlds to let hundreds and thousands of players interact, develop their characters, live virtual lives.
Online games are not just teenagers’ obsession; many gamers are in their thirties and forties; some continue to play even if they passed the age of sixty. Most players no longer buy their games of choice on external drives; instead, they choose to download the software despite the lengthy process. High performance and seamless experience, along with secure data handling, are among the critical requirements of online gamers.
Nowadays the market offers dozens of online game genres. Obviously, some of them are more popular than others. So, let’s observe the top ones in terms of popularity.
Since the first online casino appeared in 1994, the industry has exploded. The Internet has been filled with various types of gambling, such as poker, sports betting, casinos and online slots, available on any device, desktop or mobile. Besides nowadays you can find plenty of slots streamers like Rhyker or Katie Wager. Despite its questionable reputation, online gambling remains legal across some of the US states, Canada, and dozens of other countries.
Poker in a variety of forms is one of the most popular online casino games. It may include real money bets or use virtual currency. In some cases users can enjoy the thrill of a good bluff and test their luck without risking their money or graduate to professional poker games, either online or offline.
The 1990s signified the initial wave of popularity of the first-person shooter online games. Doom was among the first shooters to incorporate the deathmatch gameplay that required multiple players to compete for the ultimate prize or survival. Battle arenas gained popularity due to the simplicity of their “last man standing” goal. Overwatch, Halo, Counter-Strike, League of Legends, Fortnite, and others fall into this category, though slight differences in their gameplay help manufacturers categorize them as different genres of the first-person shooter online game range.
Massively Multiplayer Online Games
Broadband Internet access enabled hundreds and thousands of players to use powerful streaming enterprise game servers from companies like 1g server host to inhabit a virtual game world, interact, and achieve gameplay-specific goals. MMO games come in a variety of genres and across different platforms. Most popular gameplay options include:
- Role-playing. World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and others let players take on a virtual avatar and live their life online, gaining new skills, developing connections, going on quests, and more. The most popular games have millions of subscribers and generate billion-dollar revenue for the hosting companies. Thriving virtual economies allow users to earn currency and exchange it for bonuses, goods, weapons, and other online products. Many popular TV, movie, or comic-based fandoms expand to include role-playing games, capitalizing on the popularity of the worlds and characters among the fans of Star Trek, DC or Marvel comics, The Matrix, and other fictional universes.
- Real-time and turn-based strategies. Unlike role-playing games, strategies allow players to take on the roles of leaders that must build and develop countries, clans, or towns to survive the conflict. Saga, DarkSpace, Dawn of Gods are among the popular real-time strategies, while UltraCorps and Darkwind are turn-based online games. The difference lies in the principle behind the changes that occur in the game.
- First-person shooter. Neocron and World War II Online are prime examples of MMOFPS. They are fast-paced strategic games that rely on quick thinking, perfect coordination, and understanding of the gameplay. Without experience and drive, players cannot succeed in this genre, as bonuses and stats are not given for losing battles.
- Sports. These online games provide players with a chance to play soccer, golf, basketball, American football, or other sports without leaving the comfort of their homes. Currently, some sports MMOGs receive endorsements from professional athletes and teams. Trackmania, Drift City, and Need for Speed: World are examples of the racing massive multiplayer online games that put players behind the wheel of a virtual vehicle.
- Social game. Second Life, The Sims Online, Active Worlds are popular social online games that let players live a virtual life without the need for constant battles and quests. Users create and develop their avatars through social interaction and survival in a virtual economy.
Online Games by Device
While desktop computers and laptops remain the primary online gaming hardware choice for professional gamers and aficionados, the industry is constantly growing to cover all types of devices and software with Internet connectivity. Three of the most widespread online gaming platforms include the console, browser, and mobile games.
Most popular gaming console brands support a limited number of online games. Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Wii are all prime examples of consoles with online gaming capabilities. As their popularity gains momentum, the range of online games for consoles broadens to include all genres and types.
Browser games became possible to play without the need to download and install gaming software after Java and Flash technologies were introduced. Early-generation games lacked superior graphics and gameplay. However, the development of Ajax and WebGL technologies allowed for more sophisticated multiplayer games to be available through modern browsers.
Smartphones and tablets with Wi-Fi connectivity made online games available for billions of people on the go. While many mobile games support offline mode, role-playing MMOs and strategies usually require an Internet connection. Apple App Store and Google Play offer ratings of the most popular games by genre to help smartphone users choose the best app to suit their needs.
Online games have transformed over the last decades and evolved from text-based quests into virtual worlds that accommodate thousands of players at the same time. Among the variety of shooters, strategies, sports, and social games, every player can find a popular one to test and join.
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