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The Other Side of Gaming: How Today’s Online Games Differ From Those Played 20 Years Ago

The evolution of the gaming scene has greatly changed since its inception. In the early stages, when networking was first introduced, the number of playable titles was very limited.

One of the first games we saw was MUD. This game, a basic text-driven adventure, offered players the opportunity to navigate dungeons. Since this was the very first online game of its kind, you can only imagine it next to the modern games you know and play today.

In the current decade, the entire landscape of online gaming differs greatly as compared with our past experiences. Games from the older times had simple, pixelated graphics while today’s games have much better graphics and we have more powerful hardware that can be taken advantage of. Developers today make sure their games push this hardware to the maximum.

Video games are expected to reach a worth of 249.6 billion USD in 2023. Additionally, there’s a good chance these numbers will keep increasing with signs indicating a growth of 9.32% annually in the next five years. Meanwhile, online gaming numbers have increased as well. Stats highlight that among the 3.03 billion global gamers, approximately 2.82 billion play online.

We’re here to look at how online gaming has changed over the past 20 years. From being niche and unknown to becoming one of the most popular and competitive sports enjoyed by millions.

Online Casinos Overcome Traditional Ones

The shift to online gaming has given rise to online casino platforms. These have replaced the traditional casinos we had where you had to physically be present to play games.

But why did the old-fashioned brick-and-mortar casinos make way for internet-based ones? Well, one of the primary reasons is because of player comfort. Consider this, would a gaming fan rather dress up and follow specific rules at a physical casino, or relax and play a game at home? Plus, playing on mobile devices is quite common nowadays and casinos have adapted to mobile-friendly sites. This kind of easy access has invited more people to enjoy these gaming spaces.

The question of privacy and security is very important in the world of online gameplay. These Players could exploit the physical nature of the game to steal a win without anyone knowing. However, the online casinos of today use better technology that maintains the confidentiality of players. Real-time monitoring is done to ensure everyone enjoys a fair game and if any suspicious activity is detected it is reported immediately.

Online casinos also let players stay unseen, keeping their identities confidential while they keep playing. This is helpful for those people who don’t wish for others to see their game choices.

PC Gaming on the Go

20 years ago, we had bulky PCs with limited games available to play. These had to be connected to wired networking devices so you could play online.

Fast forward to 2023 and you’ll find portable handheld devices have made a comeback but in the PC sector this time. The introduction of small form factor devices with powerful hardware like the Steam Deck and ROG Alloy has provided an unparalleled level of flexibility and convenience.

With WiFi integrated into it and an extensive gaming catalog at the ready, you can engage in fun online sessions with friends even while traveling. In addition, the development of devices like these has made game devs think about targeting this market. We might be seeing specific games for such handhelds in the future.

E-Sports Tournaments

Since online gaming started, e-sports tournaments have come a long way. These tournaments today are enjoyed on a global scale, with millions tuning in to see the buzz. Forbes reports that in 2017, the viewership of the e-sports industry surpassed that of Major League Baseball, having accumulated a total of 335 million viewers.

These tournaments are known to have pretty big cash prizes, often reaching several million dollars. For example, an event known as The International for the beloved game Dota 2, awarded winners with a total of $25.5 million.

E-sports tournaments are also being conducted differently nowadays. In the past, if you wanted to take part in one, it was open to join. However, today the player bases exceed the limit so not everyone can have a shot. Competitions have changed so only elite and regulated players and teams can compete.

Monetization Methods: From Traditional Purchases to Free-To-Play

In the past, there were physical stores that sold game disks. This was the only method of monetization available to the game studio. However, online gaming brought with it other methods like in-game purchases and subscriptions.

Most online games today are free-to-play, giving players the option to purchase cosmetic items, battle passes, and DLC. Because of these, games continue receiving updates and support.

Moreover, as the game does not cost anything, a majority of players get a chance to take it for a spin before investing any money into it. This helps widen the player community and makes the game available to a larger crowd.

Online gaming was only viewed as a pastime twenty years ago and got little attention from the majority. However, today it is globally known and has evolved into a phenomenon. As time goes on and new technology arrives, online gaming will surely change again.


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