The popularity of gaming has increased beyond expectations in recent years and you may expect that increase has been a result of advances in hardware increasing appeal and therefore the audience of gamers but actually the increase has come from another source. No longer is gaming bound to the constraints of a console, online gaming today has become one of the most popular entertainment activities on the Web and gaming has moved rapidly in the direction of shorter, simpler games played via social media platforms and mobile phone devices with the advantage of playing friends, sharing and competing.
Consoles have always ruled as the most convenient gaming choice because they are designed to offer a simple plug-and-play experience. You buy the console, buy a game and after a minor install you’re ready to play. Consoles were by and large the domain of the male player with statistics showing that only 28% of console users were women, as opposed to online gaming which is somewhat equally divided between genders, at 58 percent male players and 42 percent female players.
The popularity of social, mobile and PC games have skyrocketed to unthinkable heights whilst sales of console games have slumped. The success of online gaming has changed how console games are now developed. When the whole online boom exploded, games developers were always looking at ways to put their game online and it came to the point where games were almost scoffed at if they didn’t have any form of online interaction.The PC, however, still offers a larger variety of games and has a bigger independent game scene.
Gaming has also taken another form. Thanks to the rise of smartphone and tablet technology, mobile gaming has seen a huge increase, with popular games such as Angry Birds, Candy Crush Saga and 4 pics 1 word. In fact, 55 percent of gamers play on portable devices.It’s not so much that gamer interests have changed, but that a whole group of new players have started playing games in this format.
The variety of gaming offered online is also wider with online bingo, casino’s and other gambling games such as Da Vinci Diamonds appealing to an audience who would typically not be interested in console style gaming.
Essentially, the internet has completely changed the way games are developed now and it will continue to change it. The recent launch of the new game SimCity is proof of such. Developers suffered a huge backlash when they made that game “Online only”. Gamers therefore had to have an internet connection to play even when playing in single player mode, unfortunately within the first few days of going online, the servers were not able to support the game play and locked all the players out.
It is predicted that in the future consoles will no longer be required to play games online anymore, a set top type box will stream games and the gamer will pay a subscription to use the online service. However, as things stand at the moment, the immediate sell out of the Wii Ushowed that consumers are still enthusiastic about new gaming technology. With the Xbox 360 celebrating its eighth anniversary and the PS3 its seventh, it seems almost certain that the hardware battle is not over yet.
Featured – Console Free Play Image By The Eggplant (Matt Chan) via Flickr shared under a Creative Commons (CC BY-ND 2.0) license.
Content – Vintage Consoles. A Sega Saturn, an Atari VCS 2600, an Atari Jaguar and a Sega Master System II video game consoles. Image By Daniel Pisano via Flickr shared under a Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0) license.