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.
Everyone thought that even though land-based casino revenues worldwide are taking a hit because of this incredibly tough recession that online gaming revenue on the other hand would be new to the tough economic times because of the little amount of expenses it takes to operate an online casino but this hasn’t been the case.Even online casinos worldwide are starting to feel the pinch of a recession that borders on the depression and you can see this not only from the numbers but from all of their forward outlook on future revenues, but there are still some diamonds in the rough as far as online gambling companies to either gamble at or invest in through the stock market. One of the online gaming companies that is growing revenue and net income like gangbusters is the Chinese online gaming firm Shanda.While everyone else is losing their shirt financially Shanda has announced incredible revenue gains for the third quarter of 2008. Their revenues have increased by 41% over last year’s third-quarter revenues and net income increased over 20% from last year.Shanda has done so well because it has decided to focus more on online games and online board games rather than online gambling games . The potential for online game playing in China is incredible and if they could do this well during the recession imagine how well it will do when we come out of this recession. Even though online gambling hasn’t been hit as hard as land-based gambling in China, the one area that seems to be outpacing them all is the online game arena. I think that American gambling companies should learn a lesson from this company and try to shift their focus more so away from online gambling during the recession to online games because of the fact that online games have become almost a culture unto itself with the younger generation as we start to move online at a younger age every year.I know this because I have a 42-year-old brother that still plays games on his Xbox with his kids and it has gotten to the point where they are almost addicted to these games so it goes to show that online games as well as online gambling have a big influence even culturally among our young and among our middle-age population.