It may seem that online gaming is a recent phenomenon with the advent of the internet and advances made in online technology. However, that is not the case. Online gaming has actually existed since the late 1960s. It is true, however, that the industry has seen a recent surge in popularity in both men and women. This has led to a huge influx of online games including World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Final Fantasy and Lineage.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of women and teenagers who are using more online gaming sites. In fact, the female audience in online gaming rose 27% to 43 million users by August 2008. Most of the games played are by teenagers aged twelve to seventeen and women aged 55 to 64. With this ever growing audience, there are now more sites catering to women than ever before. Some of these include DressUpGames.com and I-Dressup.com. If women are looking for a virtual world, those are out there too such as Neopets.
A recent study of 1,500 participants shows that there will be no decrease in online gaming popularity anytime soon. Of the respondents, more than 60% said that they play online games on a daily basis with many spending more than eleven hours a week on an online gaming site. Most respondents say they enjoy playing because it gives them a break or allows them to relax. Other respondents say they use the games as a way to stimulate their brains and relieve stress. The study also showed that the most popular time to get online and participate in online gaming is during the evening. The peak of the time for most players is right after the dinner hour, with participation dropping off as the clock gets closer to midnight. Many respondents also claim that they get more satisfaction from playing free online games than they do from watching TV. Not surprisingly, playing online games is the favorite online activity of many of the respondents.
While more people have computers now and the number of online gamers continues to rise, the actual games have been around long before virtually everyone had a computer in their home. The first online games were actually invented in 1969 by two people associated with MIT. They used a system called PLATO which was initially designed to find new ways to incorporate computers into the classroom. Other versions of online games came into being during the late 1970s and early 1980s, again mainly in university settings. It wasn’t until internet access became more widespread that online gaming came off the college campus and went worldwide.
While it may seem that the world of online gaming is a recent one thanks to internet advances, that is not the case. The first online games were actually produced in 1969. This is when two people from MIT linked computers using the PLATO service. PLATO was a dedicated file sharing system looking to find new ways to use computers for education. It wasn’t long before similar games were popping up at other universities both in the U.S. and abroad. Of course, recent advancement such as Flash now make it easier for users to participate as well as bring in an entire new world of audio files and fancy graphics.
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