The Evolution of Online Gaming


The internet changed many things about our lives, and one of the main things that changed is the world of gaming. Before the world wide web, gaming was still pretty big news. It was already gaining certain popularity in the ‘80s with the introduction of the Nintendo Entertainment System, Spectrum and other similar machines. That’s not even mentioning the arcade, where Donkey Kong (arguably the first platform game) first appeared, including a character that would later become Mario. But even with all that going on, the internet made a profound difference to the way games evolved over time. Let’s take a detailed look at the evolution of gaming since the internet was born.

Increasing Complexity

The Evolution of Online Gaming
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Something that certainly happens over time in the world of gaming is that it becomes increasingly complex. This was already happening before the internet became a thing, of course. But, nonetheless, it is also true that the web has helped to accelerate this profoundly. There are complexities in modern gaming that would not have been there if it weren’t for online gaming.

In part, this is merely down to the sharing of information, which is the nature of the internet. Programmers and gamers alike became more unified in the kind of complexity that they would like to see; it became clear which specific routes would be taken. This is something that the internet does generally. You can certainly see it with how it has influenced and affected gaming as much as anything else.


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In terms of the experience for the gamer, something that the internet has done is helped people to get through games that they might have found challenging or difficult in the past. This is achieved primarily through the use of walkthroughs.  These are essentially guides that people post which you can use to follow along and complete a game. These, too, have evolved considerably; where once they were merely pages of text, nowadays they are more likely to be wikis, hyperlinked and so on. They might even be YouTube videos showing people finishing the game in question. It is now easier than ever to finish any game that might be bothersome or which you might be struggling with in any way.

In-Game Purchases

There are many changes with online gaming which are due to companies wanting to be more profitable or provide better experiences for their customers. It’s hard to completely identify which come under this heading. But it’s worth remembering that the online gaming industry is varied; there are many different kinds of businesses out there creating and hosting games.

One of the things that has become more and more common, partly as a result of this, is the use of in-game purchases to make a game feel more complete. These also improve prospects for the gaming company itself, of course. There are many types of in-game purchases you can find now in games; they range from the small to the large. For many, they are just a normal part of gaming. You might buy upgrades or updates or in-game advantages, depending on whether you have the money or not.


Photo by Max DeRoin from Pexels

One of the most significant shifts in all of gaming history, and certainly in the evolution of online gaming, had to be the creation of the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. Arguably, the first of these were the games known as Multi-User Dungeons (MUD), although these have been largely forgotten now. These simple games allowed you to play largely text-based multiplayer games with strangers online. But they are not really true MMORPG. In fact, the first of those was probably a game called Neverwinter Nights, in 1991—so about a year or two within the invention of the Web. This was the first graphical MMORPG, and it paved the way for greater and bigger things many years later on.

Later, the gaming type would see such well-known items as World of Warcraft, which is one of the best-selling and most popular games of all time. This gaming experience was quite unlike anything before; it offered complete worlds to explore as you wish and full interaction with other players from all over the world. It became known for its addicting quality. And it’s true, many people lost many months to this game—which is quite the accolade for any computer game!

Interactive & VR

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In more recent times, one of the more exciting things to have happened to gaming is the introduction and improvement of more interactive ways of gaming. Games have basically become more and more interactive as time has gone on; the internet has made this especially true and really helped matters. One of the recent changes that many people are still excited about is Virtual Reality, which is just starting to become a big thing. This has been aided largely by the internet, especially given that Google put much of their funding into this VR protocol. If there is one thing that looks set to continue in the world of online gaming, it is VR being used more and more—and being made increasingly realistic as time goes on.

What Next?

It’s hard to tell exactly what is going to come next, of course. But it looks as though increasing interactivity is going to be a big part of it, as people really appreciate that in gaming these days. At the same time, more realistic graphics are always going to be in the cards. With these two things working together, we are going to find that online gaming continues to morph over time. What exactly it will be like in fifty years’ time, it is impossible to say—but it will probably be as different as now is compared to thirty years in the past.

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