When we refer to online games we are normally referring to video type games that we play on a computer via the internet. Some video games are played over the internet using mobile phones and video consoles, but generally speaking online games means computer games that need an internet connection to be played. Simple text-based multiplayer games were the first of these types of games as internet connections were slow and expensive when these games were first introduced in the 1980s. Gradually these games became popular in the 1990s, with today’s online games featuring virtual communities, realistic graphics and multiplayer games where people can even play one to one or in knock out tournaments for cash prizes. We all know that the internet is the fastest growing market place in the history of the world but did you know that there is an online games sector that is growing 4 times faster than the internet overall! Yes! and it’s the “Online Skill Games” market.There are many styles of Online GamesSome of the different types of online games that exist:1. Real time strategy games: This type of game is all about strategy where, for your army to fight successfully against the other internet players you need to develop a game plan by building lots of resources2. First person shooter: Here the players compete with each other one to one. In most first-person type games, the online game allows the death match or arena style of play. In this style of game play the view you see is the one seen from your character’s eyes.3. Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG): In this type of game each person has to keep trying to reach the next highest level until he has reached the top one written for that game and these online games can have, simultaneously, thousands of players from every part of the globe, playing in a giant virtual world interacting against or with each other. Gamers can keep playing these types of games for months or even years!4. Browser type games: These are pastime games that are quick, simple and small that are played in your browser. The popular Java and Shockwave technologies are used to develop these games.5. Online skill games: An online skill based game is a web game played in tournament format or one to one. Each player pays a cash entry fee to play with a cash or merchandise prize going to the winner or winners. The outcome of each competition is based on the player’s ability and performance not luck.How Do Online Game Companies Make MoneyAll games today, are playable online. How do we make money? This is the question that companies making the online games have to ask themselves. The majority of companies make single-player games that are played at home and in this the player has to beat the artificial intelligence of the enemy. Today these games normally include an online multiplayer version which can be played against or with other Internet players. By selling their game DVD/CDs is how these companies earn their profit e.g. Warcraft 3 and Counter Strike. Advertising and promotions is how browser game companies make their money. MMORPG companies generally charge their players a monthly fee and continue to add content by programming new scenarios etc in their games e.g. Everquest 2 and World of Warcraft. Some don’t, but survive because their DVD/CD sales are high e.g. Guild Wars.What is the future of online games?Soon there will be a new entry into the online skill games market. According to their Free Online Games Market Report they will be the first company with their new online skill games platform, to launch a business that encapsulates three of the newest phenomena on the internet today. Online Games Entertainment, Social Networking using web 2.0 and a new way of marketing which has been described as Social Marketing 2.0. One of the core differences with this new platform over the conventional models is that we the players can if we want share in the profits while we play our games. With the market today (2007) worth approximately $5.2 billion USD and predicted to rise in the next 3 years to over $13 billion USD that’s $412 per second and with social networking sites already reaching 45% of web users and the 4 major Instant Messengers having more than 400 million users between them this potentially could be a whole lot of money.
Console games can seem like a great way to spend an evening with friends.Console games like Wii seem to encourage this. They advertise the group aspects with family or friends, showing the fun that a party of people can have with these systems. Clearly with the new style intuitive controllers, groups of people of all ability can join in with the fun.I have experienced systems like such as Wii with groups of friends in party situations such as new year. There is no doubt, they are great fun. However, I have noticed certain aspects when playing these games:Everyone is not included in the action – initially people watching are joining in, laughing and encouraging, but this wears off after a while and onlookers become bored.
The noise and music make conversation difficult.
The level of concentration by the participants is high and they become very focused on the game. This excludes them from the group and they can not participate in conversation.
When the games are finished the atmosphere tends to be tense and hyper rather than relaxed and comfortable.Before console games what did we do when friends came round?Board games were popular
Conversation and discussions- sometimes heated!
Dinner parties where the food was the evening and the meal spread out over a long time and filled the the time.
Jigsaws.The biggest difference between an evening with console games and an evening without is the focus. When people are playing console games they face the screen, when the are not, they face each other. All psychologists know the importance of eye contact as part of the way we communicate, if we are not looking at each other we do not have a proper conversation.The music and noise of the console games makes talking very difficult. When doing a board game, playing cards or a jigsaw, even with background music, there are no load distracting noises and everyone sits facing each other and conversation flows readily. The game or jigsaw is the central point to bring everyone together however, soon this becomes of secondary importance as the conversations generate the interest. The console game is all consuming and the people playing the game cannot participate in the conversation and the people who are not playing the game are not part of the experience. This creates a separation within the friends.There is, of course a place for console games. The fun family games and singing games can create a very entertaining evening.For a more fulfilling evening, I would recommend returning to jigsaw puzzles, board games or playing cards. By the end of the evening you and your friends will have put the world to rights and you will know your friends better than before. The evening will end with happy, tipsy, relaxed guests rather than tense, frenetic guests who have thrashed each other on the TV!There is a place for both types of evening. There are good reasons why old style games and puzzles were popular and an evening spent in this way can not be replicated with a console game.