On the rise: how online gaming has scaled new heights - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

On the rise: how online gaming has scaled new heights

There’s nothing particularly new about video games. Gaming has, after all, long since been a common leisure activity, and games arcades were a common sight in many places from the 1970s onwards. But thanks to various changes in the way that the gaming industry has grown, it’s now a completely different field. People of all ages and all backgrounds can now access games, and the rise in internet gaming has meant that certain games go viral almost as soon as they hit the shelves. This article will look at each of these phenomena and explain why they’ve revolutionized the way we interact with modern games.

New demographics

Back when games were restricted to arcades, only certain people could access them. It was pretty much essential that you lived in a large enough town that had an arcade within a close enough distance to travel there – and it was also vital that you had the cash you needed to operate the old-fashioned coin-based machines.

These days, it’s different. Online gaming means that any of the 83% of Americans with an internet connection can log on and quickly enjoy the latest that the world of games has to offer. And while cost may still be prohibitive to some people, the increasing shift towards cloud-based gaming means that overheads for both gamer and creator are lower – so it’s getting easier and easier to do.

Games for all ages

But perhaps the most obvious demographic shift on the gaming landscape in recent decades has been the way that people of all ages can now access games that they enjoy. Facebook, for example, is now a major gaming platform – and with the percentage of older adults using the social media giant now rising and rising, it’s clear that gaming is now reaching more people than ever before and providing them with a new form of entertainment suitable to their preferences.

Online games don’t, of course, just include the popular teenage video games of the moment. The rise of Farmville, Words With Friends and many other similar games shows that everyone can now find something that they love. The phenomenal rise in online gaming has also led to a range of games that are targeted specifically at adults rather than teenagers, and online casino games at Stakers is just one way that adults can now play at home from the comfort of their tablet or PC.

The viral effect

The term “going viral” may seem a little overused these days, but there are few better ways to describe the phenomenon we see when a new product, media piece or even simply an opinion appears to take over the world in just a few short days – or even hours. The gaming world is no exception to this rule. Games go viral a lot, and there are certain ones that scale to the top of the popularity charts within a very short space of time.

Online games are, in fact, by their very nature more predisposed towards going viral than perhaps some other major leisure formats are. Because they are multiplayer in nature, new people are invited to get involved almost all the time – and, as a result, the network effect quickly multiplies. Unlike reading a book or watching a film, a companion isn’t necessarily required to complete the activity.

But with gaming, a teammate is either necessary or – in the case of Fortnite, one of the most recent examples of a viral game – an important part of enjoying the excitement of the game. Fortnitewent viral quickly after its release, and it was in part down to users of other popular online services like YouTube who drummed up excitement about the game before it went big.

Gaming has been a part of life for a long time now, but the impact of the games of yesteryear doesn’t even begin to compare with the games of today. Online gaming has truly changed the way that people access fun: from the types of people who can afford or are able to access games to the way that these games can become amazingly popular within just a matter of days, a lot has changed. Even the advent of seemingly non-game focused services like Facebook and YouTube has played a key role in egging on the gaming revolution, and as a result, it’s no surprise that games like Fortniteare experiencing the viral treatment – and probably will for a long time to come.

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