Online gaming: What does the future hold?
Online gaming is a commonplace concept within the industry now as developers have continued to adapt to the need for multiplayer platforms, DLCs and creating a more social experience in the games they create.
You can trace online gaming back to SEGA and their Dreamcast console, which allowed players to download extra content via an internet connection – which we imagine was painfully slow. Microsoft and Sony quickly caught onto the idea when SEGA didn’t manage to get it off the ground and have gone on to develop the concept of online gaming further over time.
But it’s not just the big consoles who shaped online gaming as we know it. Websites also offer games featuring bingo promotions and virtual slot machines, and social media also adapted to the concept with famous names like FarmVille. Mobile technology has also impacted positively on our access to online games and where and when we can play.
So, over time, how has online gaming changed to become what we know it as now? Let’s take a look:
It has become more social
More and more people are now interacting while playing games, connecting with like-minded people either in the chat box on the side or via a headset online. We’re more likely to team up with other gamers, conquer raids together and perhaps connect on social media afterwards to chat and plan another game together again in the future.
The demographic has changed
Gaming is no longer ‘a man’s world’, in fact, demographic split between men and women gaming is around 50/50, and this is potentially down to online gaming. This is mainly because the concept of what a gamer is has changed over time; mobile technology is allowing people access to more and more puzzle games which are making gamers out of them as they return every day to complete levels online. Women are more likely to play these app games and therefore have shifted the demographic away from just men and young teenage boys.
Digital storefronts are potentially impacting on high street retailers
If you game, you more than likely use Steam, the PS or Microsoft stores and discount sites such as Humble Bundle, which means online gaming has shaped the way we purchase games with digital storefronts easier to access and readily available.
We can preorder titles online and have them automatically downloaded to our console or PC libraries when they are released and with stronger bandwidth strengths this is easier now than ever. However, all of this is more than likely impacting on the sales stores such as GAME and Gamespot are seeing as we start to do everything online and move away from picking up physical copies of new games.
People are now happier to view instead of playing
Live streaming platform Twitch has grown in popularity as people are happy to sit back and view others playing online instead of playing the game themselves. Online gaming has created a culture of voyeurism, with gamers becoming stars in their right and going on to enjoy sponsorship from game developers and tech companies.
So what does the future hold?
VR technology will start to make an impact on online gaming. Some streamers are already creating content featuring them playing using a headset, so expect to see more live streams featuring awkward gameplay and full body shots. Game developers will also continue to create open platform worlds where numerous players can meet up and interact – much like World of Warcraft and Destiny – as more people look to play online but not necessarily in a team or against others in a map based battle situation.