Online gaming has turned into a significant part of the entertainment industry, just as video games as a whole have. Aside from being just a fun way to pass the time, there is now more and more interest in professional gaming, much like there has always been towards professional sports. Many YouTube and Twitch celebrities entertain with their online gaming. So it's something many people have been exposed to and might be interested in. This guide is intended for anyone who is looking to learn more about the ins and outs of online gaming.
There are a few different types of online gaming platforms, and these can largely be divided into console and PC gaming. Modern consoles maintain a pretty constant Internet connection to allow for multiplayer modes. Popular consoles for online gaming include the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One.
For PC gamers, there are disc-based and downloaded games, with disc-based largely going by the wayside as of 2017 thanks to the rise of digital gaming platforms like Steam. Digital games are downloaded onto a PC or console's hardware and then played from there. Browser-based games (games that are played in a web browser) are another platform to play games online. These tend to be more geared towards casual players.
First and foremost, a gamer wanting to game online needs the right hardware. Many gamers prefer to learn the specs and assemble their own gaming PCs. There are also commercial models available that are geared towards gamers. Typically, a good PC for online gaming will have a high-quality, dedicated graphics card, plenty of RAM and a powerful processor. This is a fairly expensive investment, as a top gaming machine will run well over $1,000. Gamers wishing to play games online via a console only need to purchase the console.
A strong and stable Internet connection is also required to play online. If a connection is spotty or not fast enough, what is known as lag will occur, which is when the game slows down or jolts around due to lack of a connection. Players may also be periodically disconnected from servers, although this is sometimes an issue with the servers themselves rather than the gamer's Internet connection. Serious online gamers should always invest in a strong Internet connection with speeds of around 6mbps.
A good headset is also an important component in online gaming. They allow users to easily communicate with one another while they play. Because most online games require some form of coordination, voice chat is much more efficient than having to type out information in a chat box.
There are a number of massively popular online games that stretch back through the genre's relatively short history.
MMOs, or massively multiplayer online games, are a popular genre of online game. Some of the earliest examples (that are still up and running) included RuneScape, EVE Online, EverQuest and the genre-defining World of Warcraft. Some of the newer popular games are Final Fantasy XIV, The Elder Scrolls Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Guild Wars 2. Many games offer a free to play model with additional paid content. Others, most notably World of Warcraft, still charge a monthly subscription fee.
MOBAs, or multiplayer online battle arenas, have become more common and popular in recent years. MOBAs are online real-time strategy games that require players to cooperate in order to capture the enemy base. Perhaps the most famous and popular MOBA currently available is League of Legends, although other examples of the genre include Heroes of the Storm, Smite and Dota 2.
Team-based first-person shooters are also very popular. Standouts in the genre include the newly-released Overwatch and Team Fortress 2.
Games that are otherwise more traditional single-player video games have online modes and thriving online gaming communities. These include games as varied as Call of Duty, FIFA, Diablo, Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto, among many, many others. Some of these games are very story-rich and transport players to amazing new worlds, while others boast more of their fun and excellent gameplay. Those interested in online gaming should try them out and see what they like.