Electronic Games

Playing computer games

Electronic game worlds have made billions of dollars thanks to millions of gamers fighting, buying, crafting, and selling in various online scenarios. World of Warcraft by Activision Blizzard was one of the most popular games. Millions of people subscribed to the massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) from 2007 to 2010, raking in an estimated $1 billion in retail sales and subscription fees per year. MMOGs differ from traditional computer games in various ways. To begin with, all MMOGs require Internet access because the games can only be played after logging into the game world’s server. Second, the social networking aspect of interacting with hundreds of people worldwide sometimes takes precedence over the game’s content. According to a 2006 study, nearly a third of female gamers and almost 10% of male gamers had dated someone they met in a game. Third, the majority of MMOGs are subscription-based, with a monthly fee and the cost of the game program. Some businesses offer periodic downloaded “patches” of new game content to make these monthly costs more acceptable for players. In contrast, others offer their games free to gamers willing to put up with a barrage of in-game ads.

There’s something for everyone, from MUDs to MMOGs.

Even though World of Warcraft and other MMOGs take advantage of today’s high-end visuals and processing power, online gaming has roots in some of the oldest computing technology. By the late 1970s, ARPANET (see DARPA), a precursor to the Internet, had connected several institutions across the United States. Thanks to ARPANET’s architecture, users can link their computers or terminals to a central mainframe computer and communicate in near-real-time. In 1980, were two undergraduate students built MUD, a text-based fantasy adventure game. Online gaming began when the first outside users connected to MUD via ARPANET. Other programmers quickly embellished the basic MUD architecture with graphics, chat facilities, and player groups (or guilds). The second generation of online games, the first true MMOGs, carried over these core traits and the fantasy setting.

Virtual economies are on the rise.

Another issue that game developers have had to cope with is the growth of secondary economies outside of gaming realms. When a castle in their virtual world sold for thousands of dollars on eBay, the makers of Ultima Online were the first to see this phenomenon at work. By 2006, the market had expanded to over $1 billion. Players spend hours in-game earning gold, hunting down rare weapons, and gaining power and reputation for their characters to cash in on their efforts. The buyer and seller agree on a purchase price, monies are electronically sent, and the transaction is consummated in the game world.

Assassin’s Creed Identity

Assassin’s Creed Identity makes its iOS debut with an RPG twist, aiming to be more like the full-blooded console editions. Identity is a stealth-and-stabbing game set in Renaissance Italy that attempts to recreate the series’ signature gameplay in a more condensed fashion. Ezio has been replaced by a series of custom-made characters, each of which was developed using an Italian name generator.

You’ll almost certainly spend more time fiddling with that than playing the game itself, which is unfortunate. It’s a free-to-play game that sends you throughout the world to murder someone, obtain a relic, or escort someone in exchange for skill points, which you can spend to buy costumes, equipment, and move sets for your character. Because there aren’t many people around, flat graphics and boxy structures must do most of the work to produce a sense of location. The game’s terrible controls increase the difficulty, forcing you to run into walls rather than climb them.