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.
Facebook is one of the most popular social networking sites. It has about 500 million active users, with 50% of these members logging on, everyday. Members have an average 130 friends. But these social networking sites are not longer just for posting updates, sharing information with friends or getting in touch with long lost college buddies or relatives.Why are these people spending much of their time online? One of their reasons is online gaming. Online games are played with the use of an internet connection, over a computer network. There are games which use simple texts, while there are some who would use very complex graphics like multiplayer games like the World of Warcraft, Runescape, and Lineage II. Oftentimes, players would create their own online gaming communities so that players would be able to interact and form social bonds with those who play the same game.The beauty of games offered in social networking sites like Facebook is that they are for free. You do not have to worry about credit card information and other financial details. In addition to that, Facebook games are meant to stimulate you mentally. Most of the games in the social site are strategy games, games which are meant to develop critical thinking and use different strategies in order to win.Online games in Facebook also allows users to interact with each other. You can play with those who are part of your network or contact list, and those who are not. You can even meet new friends because of online gaming.What are the current most popular games in Facebook?CityVille. This is a stimulation game where the player would be able to create their own city. You would be able to grow crops, build stores, sell them in eateries and build townhouses. You could even tap your friends so that you will be able to expand your business in your friend’s cities.
ESPNUCollege Town. Another popular simulation game where you could establish your own University and recruit athletes.
TexasHoldem Poker. This card game remains to be one of the most popular and easy to learn card game which is focused on betting, raising and folding.
Bejeweled Blitz. A popular game for both adults and children, where you match gems under one minute. There are weekly tournaments allowing you to compete with friends.
Mafia Wars. A multiplayer game which can be played not only Facebook but also in MySpace and Sonico. The game has 26 million subscribers and won the 2009 Webby Award People’s Voice Winner for the Games category.If you are a face book user but have not yet tried any of the many free online games available, you should certainly give it a shot. You may be surprised at how much additional fun you can have with your Facebook account!