More and more, the world is becoming even more digital. Gone are the days when gaming enthusiasts had to visit arcades or use game consoles to play their favourite games. Online gaming, also known as cloud gaming, has come a long way to replacing traditional gaming. This type of gaming enables players to engage in virtual gaming alone or with other players on the internet or any other computer network. When we talk of online gaming, your mind is probably going to action games. However, this genre of gaming cannot be limited to just that! In this guide, we will explore some of the different types of online gaming and their impact on players’ lives.
Understanding Online Gaming
As we mentioned before, online gaming is a virtual type of gaming that users play over the internet or any different computer network. Although these games are usually multi-player to encourage socialisation, players can choose single-player modes if they are up for some solo time! Let’s talk about the key characteristics of online gaming and how it separates itself from virtual gaming in general!
- User-friendly Interface: Convenience and ease of use are some of the most attractive things about online games. Even for a first-time user, navigating an online game should be easy. Once they find appropriate online gaming sites, starting to play is a breeze. However, inasmuch as these sites are easy to navigate and use, you should have a basic understanding of these games before you attempt to play them, especially the ones that require you to spend money.
- Roleplaying Opportunity: A lot of online games give players the chance to put themselves in the shoes of some character and interact within the game’s imaginary world. Depending on the game they choose, players contribute to game development by choosing their character’s appearance, writing their life story, and picking a variety of personality traits. This is even more prevalent in life simulation games. Roleplaying games to skills development such as problem solving and creativity.
- 24/7 Customer Support: In addition to the convenience online games provide to players, they also have access to teams that are willing and ready to help them at all times. This offers players a smoother gaming experience since this team is available round the clock to answer questions and help solve any issues.
- Bonuses and Rewards: Unlike virtual games, online gaming sites give their players rewards for signing up and playing! Once you sign up and start your gaming adventure, these sites will offer you attractive and exclusive rewards. In addition to these sign-up bonuses, returning players will also have access to special perks and amazing rewards!
Gaming Devices and Platforms
Online gaming has grown way beyond gaming consoles and computers. Although players can still use these devices to play their favourite game, the experience is different depending on what they pick. Every gaming device offers players a different set of opportunities to players. Let’s have a look at some of the most common devices that players can use for their favourite games!
- Game Consoles: Game consoles are probably the most popular way for players to enjoy their favourite games. Some game consoles include PlayStation, Xbox, and Wii.
- Personal Computers:Personal computers such as laptops and desktops are also very popular amongst gamers.
- Portable Gaming Devices: Hand-held gaming devices are another alternative for gaming enthusiasts. Some of the most popular portable gaming devices are the PlayStation Portable, the Nintendo DS and the Game Boy.
- Mobile phones: Although mobile gaming is not as popular as the other forms of online gaming, it is becoming even more popular because of its accessibility and convenience.
There are several types of online gaming genres and each of these genres appeals to a different audience. Let’s have a look at them.
- Sandbox: This online gaming genre is associated with player choice and open environments. Here, the player rarely has any concrete goal to pursue. Instead, they might have several tasks to be accomplished in a number of different ways. The experiences are a lot more immersive and seem almost realistic. Some popular Sandbox titles are The Sims, Grand Theft Auto and Minecraft.
- Real-time Strategy: With real-time strategy games, players compete with each other simultaneously in ‘real time’. So, there is no incremental progress in turns. Instead, players use limited resources to build units and defeat an opponent. Popular real-time strategy online games include Warcraft, Command & Conquer, and Age of Empires.
- Shooter: This genre of online gaming encompasses video games where the avatar engages in combat with a weapon against non-playable characters (NPCs) or avatars controlled by other players. These games can be divided into two major sub-genres: first-person shooter (FTS) and third-person shooter (TPS). Some examples of shooter games are Gears of War, DOOM, and Halo.
- Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA): MOBA games are very similar to real-time strategy games. However, unlike real-time strategy games, multiplayer online battle arena games typically allow you to control just one character at a time. Also, MOBA games, just as the name suggests, encourage multiplayer and team play. These games can be played as virtual reality games. Popular MOBA game titles include League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, and Arena of Valor.
- Roleplaying Games: Generally, roleplaying online games refer to games that let players take control or create a character and level up by collecting experience points. There are several sub-genres. Some of them include RPG, ARPG, CRPG, MMORPG, TRPG, Roguelike, and Roguelite. These sub-genres offer different experiences to their players. Some popular titles include The Witcher 3, Disco Elysium, and Elden Ring.
- Online Casino Games: Online casino games are an excellent alternative to traditional games, where players spend real money to have some fun. These games are meant to replicate the brick-and-mortar casino experience. At online casinos, players will find slots, blackjack, poker and other table games. Live casino games offer players an immersive casino experience. Some of the most popular online casino games include Starburst, Book of Dead, and Lightning Blackjack.
Diverse Gaming Experiences for Entertainment
The online gaming market is one of the biggest in the world, with an estimated 1 billion gamers worldwide. This number is projected to reach 1.3 billion by the year 2025. This is mainly because online games are enjoyed by practically all age groups since these games are designed to satisfy almost everyone’s tastes! For example, online games such as Music Panda, Barbie, and Finding Nemo are perfect for kids. Also, a lot of these games are available on the internet for free download. So, players do not have to worry about accessing them. Let’s have a look at some of the ways online games can improve the quality of players’ lives!
- Encourage Social Interaction and People Skills: When online games were just introduced to the general public, it was mostly about playing and not socialisation. However, technological advancements have made it so one of the major objectives of playing online is for socialisation. While playing their favourite games, gamers can connect with other like-minded individuals, interact with their friends, and make new ones! Online games now have clubs, teams, communities, events, and societies taking place. While playing games such as Call of Duty and Fortnite, players can meet and interact with people from almost every part of the world. Some games like Cribbage even have built-in communities that allow players to make connections immediately. On their website, you can find other players and connect with them, adding some extra fun to your gaming experience. This socialisation helps shy people build better people skills.
- Develop Strategic Thinking Skills: It might sound a bit farfetched to some people, but online games do help improve strategic thinking skills. Almost all online games have tasks and missions that players are supposed to complete to get experience points and level up. A lot of the time, these tasks are time-sensitive, forcing players to think creatively and critically to meet up with their goals. These players also have to make decisions and execute strategies so they can succeed in their missions, forcing them to develop strategic thinking skills.
- Improving Cognitive Abilities: Although online games are mainly for entertainment purposes, they can offer a surplus of stimulating activities that can boost cognitive abilities. There are several ways in which this can happen. Firstly, online games enhance players’ spatial reasoning. A lot of these games are set in complex 3D environments that would require players to plan movements carefully so as to navigate. So, in the long run, these games can enlarge the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with memory and navigation. Secondly, online games can improve players’ memory and concentration. One of the most popular online gaming sub-genres is memory games. They require players to store information so as to meet their objectives. In the long run, these games will increase attention to detail and improve players’ ability to memorize data. Lastly, online games increase players’ attention and focus. To meet their objectives and move on to the next level, players must pay close attention to detail. The more time players spend playing these games, the more they develop their concentration capacity.
- Mental Health Recovery: Regardless of the type, online games can help with mental health recovery. These games can act as distractions for people suffering from pain and psychological trauma. These games can also help people who suffer from mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Provide a Source of Income: The online gaming industry is worth billions of dollars, and it is no wonder that players have found a way to capitalise on it through content creation. A lot of talented players have built large platforms off their gaming skills, and the more they stream, the more money they earn. Some popular streamers include Shroud, Summit1g, xGc, Pokimane and TimTheTatman. These players mostly rely on non-fungible tokens (NFTs) which they can sell for real money. Some of these players also get ambassadorship and brand deals!
- Increase Emotional Creativity: Emotional creativity, one of the major components of general creativity, is related to positive emotional experiences. Emotional creativity contributes to relationship satisfaction, life satisfaction, and overall well-being. This type of creativity is considered to be one of the biggest motivators of innovation and success. Playing online games oftentimes leads to an increase in positive emotions such as happiness and satisfaction. These games have also been known to increase players’ moods, relax them, and help ward off anxiety. These positive emotions are a fertile ground for the growth of emotional creativity.
- Mood Elevation: Although online gaming is by no means a solution to players’ problems, it is no secret that it can help them feel better at the moment. Most online games give players the chance to win, conquer, and score while having the most fun possible. These are positive actions that give players a sense of achievement and elevate their moods. However, players should remember that, inasmuch as online gaming is entertaining, it can also be very addictive. Setting limits to daily, weekly, and monthly play is extremely important.
Fostering Creativity and Artistic Expression
We know that it might seem very controversial, but online games play a huge part in fostering creativity and boosting artistic expression. Although it is not always the case, the best and most creative projects are completed during the ‘flow’, where the artist spends some time locked away working on something, and all the pieces of the puzzle just seem to fall in place. This ‘flow’ state was coined by Mihal Csikszentmihalyi, a renowned psychologist. During this state, control seems effortless and there is full concentration on a rewarding task. These positive changes are often attributed to the quietening of the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Online games can help achieve this flow state and boost creative thinking. According to research, video games stimulate creative thinking and problem-solving. They are also a great help in keeping your cognitive abilities sharp. Online games help develop reflexes such as quicker reaction times and hand-eye coordination are important in fostering creativity. Video games have also been proven to improve players’ memory and pattern recognition. These skills increase memory retention and the ability to ‘predict future occurrences based on specific outcomes!’
Building Communities and Social Connections
Contrary to what a lot of people think, online gaming helps build players’ social lives! Granted, when these games were first introduced to the public scene, they were not social. The only thing that they were useful for was a bit of entertainment. However, with technological advancements, gaming has become more and more social. These games are fertile grounds for gamers to make new friends and socialise with people from other ends of the planet. Games such as Minecraft, Call of Duty, and Minecraft have numerous clubs and communities where players can interact with each other and have meaningful conversations. According to research, online gaming is a great way to build people and communication skills, especially for introverts. Multiplayer games, in particular, force players to work together to complete a mission, and this can help improve teamwork and collaboration skills. We can even go as far as saying that online games help with fostering leadership skills. Games that have leadership roles force players to take charge and hence develop valuable leadership skills that can be relevant in academic and professional settings!
The Future of Online Gaming
Online gaming seems to be contributing to technological advancements, as well as benefitting from them! With the rapid pace of technological innovation, the future of online gaming seems to be glittering! Asides powering new games, these technological innovations will improve the infrastructures that the online gaming industry relies on! Let’s have a look at some of the innovations that will revolutionize the online gaming industry!
Technological Advancements and Virtual Reality
Although virtual reality games are by no means new additions to the online gaming industry, they are well on their way to revolutionize this industry! This immersive type of gaming gives players the opportunity to explore an exclusive three-dimensional environment and interact with it. These interactions are made possible through electronic devices such as VR headsets, Meta Quest, or Valve Index that makes players feel like they are a distinct part of the game. VR is gearing up to change the online gaming industry as we know it. Not only will it improve gameplay mechanics, but it also has the potential to revolutionize in-game storytelling.
Virtual reality and augmented reality are two sides of the same coin. While virtual reality gives players the impression that they are in a new environment altogether, augmented reality merges real and virtual worlds together. AR uses special sensors to detect users’ surroundings and creates virtual objects, characters, and more to create a seamless blend. These technologies allow game manufacturers to explore nonlinear storytelling and narratives. Based on their choices, players can explore different outcomes, environments, and characters. With AR, players unlock new pieces of information based on the objects they find in their immediate surroundings. Augmented and virtual realities are also a great way for players to connect and socialise with each other through multiplayer games and virtual spaces. The possibilities are almost endless!
Gaming Trends and Innovations
As we already mentioned, technological advancements are constantly pushing the online gaming industry on a rapid growing curve! These advancements give way to new innovations and even more entertainment for players. One of the innovations that is predicted to revolutionize the industry is mobile gaming. In fact, it is already doing so, as this type of gaming has become an integral part of the industry. Players say bye to big computers and laptops and welcome convenient mobile phones and tablets. This type of gaming is set to become even more popular as more and more people acquire mobile devices. There is pretty much something for everyone in the mobile gaming space: puzzles, action-packed scenes, adventure, and so much more.
In addition to mobile gaming, cloud gaming is another big thing that experts predict will shape the future of online gaming. This type of gaming works similarly to streaming. Players can stream games over the internet and do not need any type of strong and expensive hardware. These games no longer run locally on gaming consoles or PCs. Instead, players can access their favourite games with the devices of their choice such as smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs. Cloud gaming is set to become so popular because of how convenient it is. This type of gaming will let players with different ecosystems and devices to play with each other, creating more inclusive gaming communities! Cloud gaming seems a little like a messiah that will provide high-quality gaming to everyone!
The online gaming industry is a fast-paced one, and more and more, we witness its growth through amazing innovations that are now accessible to us! This virtual gaming is gearing up to replace the traditional manner of gambling, as it offers gamers the possibility to explore different universes conveniently and securely. With the many types of games available, there is surely something that will suit everyone’s tastes! If this guide managed to convince you, then you can go ahead and start your online gaming journey! We know just how entertaining it could be, so be cautious with the time you allocate to this! Play responsibly for an even more entertaining and enriching experience!