Today we take a look at how the introduction of broadband, super fast fibre broadband and going online has impacted the world of gaming. From single and multiplayer gaming to the communities that have been built around them. What has the impact been as faster internet speeds allow us to interact more online?
Single vs. Multiplayer
There is a place in the market for both types of gaming, with single player and multiplayer games fitting different niches. Single player games rely heavily on storylines; multiplayer gaming is much more focused on competitive or cooperative interaction. The increased prevalence of online gaming has given a huge boost to multiplayer gaming. With the advent of broadband you can now play multiplayer games with complete strangers anywhere in the world at any time of day; removing the age old problem of finding someone to game with! This advance has given games much higher replay value, especially in real time strategy or shooting games, when different peoples input makes each game different to the last. This has also changed dramatically with consoles. Xbox live, launched in 2002, was the first online gaming platform to gain any real traction. Sony followed Microsoft’s lead with the introduction of the PlayStation Network in 2006. These two online systems, along with Nintendo’s Wi-Fi connection, propelled online gaming to commonplace for the first time in console history. Now most games created for any of the three main consoles contain some sort of online aspect. The growth of online gaming can be seen most dramatically when looking at the increase in subscriptions to games since the year 2000. According to MMOdata.net the “massive multiplayer online role playing game” genre has seen an increase in subscriptions from just over 1 million in 2000 to over 19 million in 2013. Due to the success of online multiplayer gaming on consoles titles, like the hotly anticipated Titanfall, are forgoing a single player option focusing purely on the multiplayer aspect of the game. Co-founder of Respawn, Vince Zampella said to Gaming Industry “We make these single-player missions that take up all the focus of the studio, that take a huge team six months to make, and players run through it in 8 minutes, and how many people finish the single-player game? It's a small percentage. It's like, everyone plays through the first level, but 5 percent of people finish the game.”
Playing online has helped games develop a community around them, making them much more socially appealing. Whether it is competitive games which develop a community focussed around deciphering the nuances of a game to push them to the limit or the various Facebook games which allow you to share your progress and achievements with friends and family, you can now talk and interact with people more than ever, while enjoying a game. With competitive gaming this adds to the longevity of a game. From month to month new strategies develop, to the point where the game needs to be played in a completely different style. This evolution of a game can only really occur when you are playing against other real people. The addition of games like Candy Crush Saga and Mafia Wars to social media sites has also introduced games to a broader group of people than would normally play; allowing them to enjoy single player games while sharing their progress and achievements with friends.
The amount of money that is in online gaming often surprises people. Gaming has amassed such popularity that it’s reached the point where there are professional gamers whose only source of income is from tournaments and sponsorship for playing online. For example last month was the 3rd annual Dota2 “International” tournament, where the winning team walked away with over £900,000 between them. Companies and sponsors would not be willing to invest this much money into a prize pool unless they thought it would be profitable as a marketing exercise. This tournament recorded concurrent viewing figures of over 1 million through streaming sites Twitch and Gamefy, and the in-game services. Other titles like League of Legends and Starcraft have achieved even larger viewing figures than this with past events. This shows that now people can watch games internationally online and be part of such a massive community gaming is turning into a spectator event, as well as a game to play. Which do you think is better: single player games or do you prefer playing multiplayer games online or with friends and family? Tell us below……THREE DAYS TO GO! We will be holding our first EVER online gaming tournament on Saturday, playing BATTLEFIELD 3. Take on fellow gamers from across the UK and prove you rule the roost! For more details and to throw your name into the ring, head over to our Community Forums.We will also be hosting a TWITTER TAKE-OVER with gaming companies, FUTURLAB and TEAM 17 on Friday so come back tomorrow for more details on how to send in your questions!