In 1973, what is considered to be the first online multiplayer game was launched called "Empire." It enabled gamers to compete with one another for territory and is the cornerstone of online multiplayer gaming today.
Empire did not allow for mouse usage or the ability to communicate directly with other players. Today however, online multiplayer gaming has exploded to include not only PC but also mobile gaming.
In the ecosystem of PC Multiplayer gaming there are several different business entities that exist today.
1 The Game Makers
It doesn't matter if we are talking about Activision/Blizzard or the newest game studio, without individuals and companies to physically sit down and make video games, there would be no multiplayer gaming.
Game makers make money by selling their games and now with ever increasing frequency, in-game purchases.
2 **The Tech Infrastructure **
Without the actual hardware to connect gamers, it doesn't matter how great the game is. While large companies are generally responsible for the internet connection that gamers use such as Time Warner Cable or Comcast or Cox, there are often smaller business entities such as Game Server Providers (GSP's) who have the server space where online multiplayer games are hosted.
Why do GSP's exist? Because a single PC isn't able to handle the individual movement of hundreds of gamers operating simultaneously in a virtual world which has its own variables acting concurrently.
3 The Enablers
There are dozens of businesses and entities who create ancillary services to online multiplayer gaming. We are talking about entities as large as Twitch to a company that brokers the sales/purchase of Avatar weapons or "skins."
Additionally we are talking about the hardware companies such as Razer who sell products that improve the experience of gaming. The products range from better keyboards and individual PC's to mouse pads, cameras, and headphones.
The size of the PC Multiplayer Gaming industry is in the billions ranging from the sales of games themselves, to in-game purchases, to hardware for gamers, to digital purchases of software products to improve the gaming experience. Advertising, events such as tournaments, and gambling on eSports is only in its infancy and this ecosystem will only grow in size the more that gaming proliferates the world with the expansion of internet access.
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