The world of gaming entertainment has evolved significantly in a relatively short space of time. Over the last few years, online games have developed from simple 2D concepts into advanced games with well-designed graphics, complex storylines and exciting interactive features. Gaming has evolved as technology has developed, society has changed and games developers have had access to higher budgets.

While console gaming is still popular, online games can be accessed on equipment that most people already have in their homes, including PCs and smartphones. These days almost everyone has access to the internet with quick enough speeds to enjoy games. Almost 4.6 billion people around the world are classed as active internet users. Two billion of these users are based in Asia and around 705 million are in European countries. With so many people now on the internet, it is no surprise that online gaming is such a popular pastime.

What are the types of games that players enjoy online?

There are online games to suit all demographics, these are just a few of the most popular game genres:

Online casino and arcade games

From slot games like Rainbow Riches to three card poker, there are a huge variety of casino games online. Casino games began to appear online back in the 1990s with the development of the World Wide Web. Back then there were a few sites with a limited number of games, this soon exploded into an entire market with thousands of online casinos and hundreds games to choose from.

Online arcades and casinos are much more convenient than their land based counterparts. Rather than spending the time and money to visit a venue, players can simply log on from their laptop at home or on their phone while on the move. Due to the high amounts of competition, online casinos usually now advertise great bonuses and welcome offers to try and attract customers and encourage loyalty.

First person shooters

FPSs are also a really popular type of online games, particularly with younger players. These are thrilling, fast paced games that involve shooting enemies and developing skills.   First person shooters also make great multiplayer games as players can team up with or play against friends or even complete strangers from the other side of the world. Playing games on a screen doesn’t mean there is a lack of social interaction, players can communicate and strategize with others either through the microphones or using live chat room features. Fan favourites include Halo 2 and Battlefield 2.

Massive Multiplayer Online games (MMOs)

MMOs are different to normal online games with multiplayer modes, these games involve interactions between hundreds or even thousands of players, with all of them playing on the same server.

Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing games (MMORGs) are some of the most popular in this genre. In these games, players immerse themselves in the life of a character inside a fantasy world. World of Warcraft is a very well known example. In WoW, players control an avatar and complete quests, fight enemies and explore lands.

Different games required different time commitments. Online games like World of Warcraft are often played for hours at a time, keeping players entertained during long periods of free time at home. Others such as puzzle games, particularly those available on mobile, entertain players in short bursts and are great for bus journeys, long queues and generally while out and about.

As the variety of games has increased and develops have learned most about what different demographics of people enjoy, quality has improved and the amount of people logging on online to play has exploded

Some online games are becoming an important part of popular culture

Fortnite is a perfect example of this. The game’s recently developed battle royale mode has turned to a world famous title. Available on PCs and mobile, as well as on consoles, this thrilling game involves 100 players battling it out on a map with a variety of weapons and devices, until one player remains and is crowned as the winner.

The game has taken off all around the world, in one month there were 45 million players online. Fortnite has been endorsed by celebrities and stars across social media, helping to bring in more and more new players. This is just one free-to-play game now amassing billions of dollars in revenue after achieving global fame.

Community driven platforms for gamers

Part of the reason for the growth of the gaming market is the development of community driven platforms specifically for gamers, such as Twitch. On this video platform, players live stream normal gameplay and esports tournaments, there is also other creative content for audiences to enjoy.

These platforms are most popular with younger people, with research finding that around 43% of the 16 - 24 year old demographic have recently watched a live gaming stream and 15% had actually streamed their own gameplay.

There are now plenty of influencers streaming on these sites. Gaming influencers are often paid large sums of money to promote newly released games. They provide reviews and tips to their fans and are able to earn good income through partnerships and paid advertising. Influencer marketing is relatively new in the gaming market but is already proving effective in comparison to more traditional forms at creating interest in new games and driving up sales.

Online gaming is a thriving industry. As the variety and quality of games continues to rise, and as technology becomes increasingly accessible, gaming is only going to continue this impressive level of high growth.