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.
There always seem to be people who believe that playing online games only has negative effects on the players, but evidence doesn’t really support that belief. Though there are certainly instances where gaming can become an obsessive and distracting behavioral issue, it is now clear that there is a positive side to this activity as well. When examining this type of gaming, there are benefits that need to be recognized.One benefit that is becoming ever more obvious results from the social aspect of gaming over the internet. More than one game on the internet requires players to cooperate or compete against other players, many of who may even be in other countries. Given the way in which so many people have become separated from normal social activity, this engagement is very beneficial.For those who equate internet gaming to similar activities like television viewing, the comparison is misplaced. Television viewing has long been recognized as one of the least active ways for people to spend their time. There is no real engagement of the mind when watching most programs on television. That is one of the reasons why so many experts caution people against spending too much time in front of the small screen. It is an activity that is primarily passive in nature.The mind is, however, is fully engaged during internet game activities. Many games bombard the player’s mind with various types of information that must quickly be deciphered and utilized. This information includes words as well as images. This spark of external stimuli forces the brain to react in ways that can enhance critical thinking skills while also improving the coordination of hand and eyes.That latter benefit sometimes fails to register with the critics of internet gaming. Researchers now understand that the connection between mind and hands is an important part of spatial recognition, superior reflexes, and overall physical coordination. When the hand-eye coordination of an average gamer is compared to that of a non-gamer, the difference is clear.Experts also tend to agree that gaming plays an important role in helping young people become more proficient with technology. Gaming interfaces share many of the same features that people encounter with other types of computer technology. The average gamer benefits from this exposure by developing a greater comfort level with computerized systems that are like those he will be using in everyday life.It should be mentioned, however, that the old warnings about excessive game play still apply. Every gamer should be encouraged to participate in other activities away from the computer screen, to meet the goal of developing a well-rounded life. Parents should work to ensure that game play is limited to a reasonable duration.Nevertheless, there is no real doubt about the many benefits that every gamer can receive from these internet activities. It is difficult to find other activities that offer such a wide range of benefits for those who participate in them. As people judge the overall impact that these online games have on children and adults alike, these positive effects must not be forgotten.Even the health of those who engage in these games is quite possible to be affected positively, though with time. They are examined to have perfect heart beats and happy moods. The other benefits of playing online games relate to intelligence and having fun. The fact is that the knowledge gained from gaming interaction makes people well versed in so many things. It is a recreation that educates and is also very entertaining.