In a recent article on CNET, William Moss observes that in an Internet cafe in China, of the couple of hundred people using the cafe when he visited it, with the exception of two people, everyone else was seen using them to play computer games.
People paying money just to play online games on hourly basis show the pull and popularity of the online games.
Here is an attempt to understand why online games are so popular these days?
An online game literally refers to the type of game, which is played on your computer while you are connected to the Internet. These can be single player games that you play with a remote server or multiplayer games where many users like you are playing with each other.
There was a time when computer games were for the so-called nerds or geeks who were basically solitary beings. With the rise in popularity of the Internet and with broadband access becoming increasingly affordable, the quality of free online games being offered has increased dramatically. Playing games online is no longer a solitary activity. Studies show that it is a social experience that more and more extroverts and out-going people are becoming part of.
Free gaming sites have become the places for players to meet and have social interactions. Popular regulars at gaming sites are a common phenomenon that we all are aware of. These gaming sites typically offer games that range from a quick, casual game during your coffee break to engaging multi-player games.
Why do people play online games?
a. Firstly, the appeal of anonymity. After all you can create a personality for yourself and can be what ever you want to be. This is a very powerful reason for people to hang out at these social sites.
b. Internet is a wonderful medium that enables you to be part of a society where all are equal. Absolutely no discrimination of any variety.
c. The games are becoming increasingly easy to setup. Most of the times you just don’t need a native installation on your PC. A web browser is all you need to play a multiplayer game. This has taken away the operating system related hurdles that one would otherwise have encountered. These games are mostly free and on top of that you don’t have to install anything to enable you to play these games. You just heard of game, perhaps from a friend or through an email or a newsletter. You just go to the gaming website and you are ready to play. No setup related hassles at all. This definitely is a very big contributor to the success and popularity of online games.
d. Online games are popular because they give people who are bored playing with their computer a chance to interact with real opponents. As a player you can chat with other players, you can join hands a few players and scheme against the others, just the way you do in real world, but with the advantage of anonymity.
I am sure there are more reasons. This in itself can be a topic of research for social scientists. Internet is changing the way we live. It is changing the way we play for sure.