My very first video game experience occurred on the Nintendo Entertainment System, a large gray bottom gaming console released by Nintendo way back in October 18, 1985. The Nintendo Entertainment System was an 8-bit video game console that played games stored on cartridges and was capable of supporting multiplayer gaming of only two players. The upgraded Super Nintendo (Super NES) came along in November of 1990. The Super NES was a 16-bit video game console, which had better graphics, and also supported multi player of up to two persons. Both consoles had great games which were credited to Nintendo allowing third party developers to develop games for the consoles; it was during this time that iconic titles such as The Legend of Zelda and Metroid were born.
Having good games helped to make the early Nintendo consoles popular, but multiplayer gaming was obviously a secret sauce. In 1993 id Software released the science fiction horror-themed game Doom, which would go on to revolutionize both first person shooter games and multiplayer gaming over computer networks. Doom was so popular that within just two years of its release it was estimated to have been played by over 10 million people, an insane number considering how many people had access to computers.
Another milestone in gaming occurred in 1994 to 1996; it was during this time that the PlayStation gaming console and the Nintendo 64 were born. These consoles were the first to come out with great 3D graphics, and were very successful in doing so. Though not connected to a network, both consoles offered multiplayer games and top games such as Mario Kart offered great multiplayer gaming options.
By the year 2000, the adoption of broadband internet connection in homes had become very popular along with a rise in teenagers spending increasingly large amounts of time online. The adoption of faster internet speeds also influenced companies that made gaming consoles to take their systems online. The entire console generation of this period, the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Microsoft’s Xbox and the Sega Dreamcast all had built in network adapters for online gaming.
While consoles set their sights on providing online gameplay for their users, the PC which had been the dominant platform for online gaming saw more developers making games for the platform and an even larger number of gamers battling it out with the mouse and keyboard.
The rise in online gaming didn’t stop there, and it was about to get another big boost by none other than the world’s most popular social networking platform Facebook. When Facebook started offering social games on its platform, these games quickly rose to become some of the most popular played games online, with staggering records of over 375 million gamers each month. This was partly due to a wide adoption of social gaming by female gamers who enjoyed playing games such as Candy Crush Saga, Farm Heroes Saga and Pet Rescue Saga, all of which are top games on the platform. In the US social games are recorded to be the most played online games.
Spilgames state of online gaming report of 2013 shows that there were 700 million online gamers worldwide, an astonishing 44 percent of the entire online population.
And online gaming is still growing, the rise of social networks has shown that people are increasingly looking for ways to have fun online, and online gaming has long been and will continue to play a major role. There is just no telling how big this industry will become.