How Networking Changed the Game

Posted: September 16, 2012 in Trends

Back in the day, when retro arcade machines acted as coliseums for competing gamers, the “high score” on a particular machine was the most coveted prize. Today the concept of the high score has been broken down, re-invented, re-branded, and ultimately, revolutionized.

So what caused the change? The short answer is: the internet.

Ever since players became able to communicate through the web companies including Sony, Microsoft and Valve began to develop new ways for players to compete and compare their gaming prowess. Today the series of high score numbers have been replaced trophies, achievementsgamer scores: the trademarks of the three major gaming network providers- Playstation Network, Xbox Live, and Steam.

To the average person, these names sound familiar but their purpose remain unclear. But most people don’t realize that such platforms are essentially very specialized Facebooks. Looking past at each network’s individual features, they all provide the same basic features:

Friend List: Every gaming network has some system of keeping of list with players that the user adds. This allows people to keep track of the “in game names” of all their friends all in one place. In addition, most friend lists have the option to invite friends your current game, making multiplayer organization a breeze.

Online community: On the internet, each of the gaming networks keeps an online forum where users can contribute to discussion on existing topics or make their own. Here new players seek help for their difficulties and veteran players exchange strategies and tips.

Competitive System: As mentioned before, these networks have their own system for keep track of user’s accomplishments in game. This can be used to encourage friendly rivalries between players and can act as incentive for improving one’s gaming skills.

Communication: Whether through a messaging system or voice chat client, gaming networks feature someway of providing communication between players. This can allow for better teamwork during games and improving general relations between players.

Gaming networks have transformed the act of gaming from a solitary activity into a wholly social one. Currently gaming networks are very advanced because of the technology involved in gaming but soon networks for other interests will arise which in turn will create the same social effect.

  1. jongshin23 says:

    I think this is a really good point. The gaming industry’s use of wireless internet connection has changed the gaming culture in various ways. Back when I was in Korea, PC gaming rooms were pretty successful businesses. A PC gaming rooms had about 40 – 80 desktop computers to allow customers pay hourly rate for computer use, mainly for gaming purpose. The computers were connected through LAN lines and allowed the customers to play in the same server, which was not possible with their own desktops at the time. The gaming consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox and their ability to connect gamers through internet network allowed them to play with other gamers in the same server, without having to go to the PC gaming rooms and paying hourly rate for their entertainment.

    • aperezse says:

      Yea it seems that the video game industry has been trying harder and harder to make gaming more than just entertainment. They have tried quite successfully to make gaming more interactive and social. Also, social gaming has introduced a broader base of consumers for the video game industry which has pushed xbox, playstation, and nintendo to improve their online services even more. It’ll be interesting to see what comes next for the industry when the new generation of consoles comes out.

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