Online gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry. Since widespread use of the internet began in the 1990s, the popularity of purchasing and playing games online has grown rapidly year on year ever since.

It has been estimated that by the year 2022, the online gaming industry could be worth around $196 billion dollars. China and North America are currently the biggest markets, however people from all parts of the world are taking up gaming online every day.

While traditional offline games have been around for centuries, internet based games offer great features, visuals and player experiences that cannot be replicated with a deck of cards or a game board.

From Massive Multiplayer Online games (MMOs) such as World of Warcraft to Augmented Reality games like Pokémon Go, there are games out there to suit all interests and lifestyles.

Offline gaming

Before the rise of online gaming, friends and families would play board games and card games as a way of socialising and having fun with one another. Competitive games also provide thrill and a healthy dose of rivalry and competition.

Playing games is important for developing a whole range of skills, from critical thinking and reasoning to coordination and communication. Games are often great ways of keeping the mind active and challenging yourself.

Evidence has been found of early civilisations using games as entertainment. The board game Senet is believed to have been popular in Predynastic Egypt as far back as 3100 BC.

Over the generations, many new games have been invented and introduced to people from different countries and cultures around the world. Playing games with new people is often an effective way of breaking down barriers and learning about one another.

Online gaming and socialisation

Many fans of traditional games believe that online games cannot replicate the social bonding experience that offline gaming provides. However, this is far from the case for many types of online games.

Online casinos

Online casinos are just one example of a gaming type that has been adapted from offline to online without losing important features such as the social aspect. A top providers have utilised technological software and now provide live casino online games to their players.

Live casino games including poker blackjack, and roulette are live streamed from authentic looking casino studios with real live dealers hosting the session. These give players a similar experience to playing in a bricks and mortar casino but from the comfort and convenience of their own home.

There are even Virtual Reality online casinos that allow players to play in a virtual but realistic environment using a VR headset.

Many online gambling sites, particularly bingo sites, have incorporated chat room features that allow you to interact with other players during the game. As bingo is traditionally a very sociable game, this feature is essential for creating an authentic experience.

The online gambling industry is huge and is growing at a fast rate in many countries across the world. In Canada in particular, the industry achieved around C$31 billion dollars in revenue in 2020 reflecting the socialisation features of live casinos must be well liked by players.

The online casino industry has tried to incorporate a social aspect by introducing new game features like live casino.

Console games

Console games with online modes have also adapted to encourage interaction between players. On games such as FIFA and Call of Duty, players can speak with friends or other players through their headsets.

Having other players share their excitement or frustration during the game really helps to bring the situation to life and increase the level of tension and entertainment.

Multiplayer games

The games that encourage the most interaction between players are MMOs. Before the internet multiplayer role playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons were played on table tops.

In these role playing games, characters typically set out on imaginary adventures within a fantasy environment. The first virtual worlds were developed in the 1970s, with Mazewar and Adventure being early examples.

Online role playing games then began to hit the market in the 1990s and early 2000s, with Runescape being the largest free MMO environment. In these games, interaction takes place through chatting, trading or through participating in joint adventures or combat missions.

Research has highlighted how online games are important in allowing players to make new friends, enjoy social activity and even escape from reality for a little while. The impressive graphics and authentic sound effects in modern online games allow for a truly immersive experience.

It isn’t just modern action and adventure type games that have made their why online, traditional board games can be found on the internet too.

Online board games

Following the recently released Netflix show The Queen’s Gambit, many fans of the show have shown an interest in learning and playing the game chess.

While not everyone has a chessboard at home or someone to play against, anyone with a mobile device or computer can log into an online game. These games allow players to play against friends, strangers or even against the computer.

There are now many board games available online where players can play with other players from around the world.

Chess players may not have the opportunity to play against players on the other side of the world on a physical chess board, before connecting with competitors across the globe online could not be easier.

A huge range of games have been adapted to be playable online. As technology and online connectivity continue to become important features in society today, it is unsurprising that this industry continues to grow and develop a vast range new experiences for players to enjoy.