4. The Death and Rebirth of Local Multiplayer
In the pre-Internet days, console gamers played local co-op or competitive games all the time. It was simply a matter of having a second controller and a multiplayer-enabled game. As the Internet spread, many games stopped offering local multiplayer options, seeing that online multiplayer was so popular. Recent trends like Rock Band and Wii Sports have shown that local gaming is still very popular, though, and we're starting to see a balance of local and online multiplayer options. After all, nothing beats having fun with friends and family in the same room.
3. Fan Communities
The Internet has made fan communities both a blessing and a curse for game companies. On the positive side, fan communities spread the word about anticipated games and can be polled by developers looking for fan reaction to various things during game development. On the negative side, fan communities can be very difficult to handle and negative word of mouth on the Internet can sink a game, sometimes unfairly. The growing presence of community managers even in companies that make mostly single-player games shows that game companies understand the importance of keeping fan communities happy and under control.
2. Persistent World Games
MMORPGs and other persistent world multiplayer games simply couldn't exist without the Internet. This wildly popular game genre has been around in basic form since the earliest days of the Internet, when all-text MUDs (multi-user dungeons) became the foundations for today's graphical games. Persistent world games are great ways for people to connect with long-distance friends and family, as well as make new friends from around the world. Some of us have even met our spouses in a persistent world game.
1. Online Multiplayer Everything
Of course, the simple fact that people can now play games online with friends and strangers has been the biggest way the Internet has changed gaming. Some gamers now refuse to buy games that don't have an online multiplayer component, although I believe there's still a strong market for single-player gaming. Still, many of today's most popular games sell in the millions precisely because of the draw of online multiplayer.
The Internet has given us an entirely new world of gaming, and I can't wait to see what new online innovations are just around the corner.
Date: April 25, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*