Over the past month Pokémon Go turned the gaming world upside down by creating the most successful game ever–to date. With its augmented reality features, players have been scouring the streets, parks, landmarks and business establishments with their smartphones hoping the catch the monsters. The Nintendo game made its debut 20 years ago, now it has been converted to mobile by Niantic Labs who are being credited for reinventing massively multiplayer online gaming. Yet, this coincides with the rise of other MMO games such as Gods of Rome, Heroes of Increadible Tales, Olympus Rising, Monster Strike and Clash of Clans. At the top of the gaming app charts, you’ll see many MMO games. So, what are these games and why are they so popular?
What is MMO?
This is where players work together, compete and socialize with one another. In fact, thousands of players can take part at the same time. Popular MMO games include World of Warcraft, DC Universe Online, Guild Wars, Everquest and Rift. Although, one of the most popular MMOs in the U.K. is Runescape. It could be because it is owned by Jagex, the British games company.
Then, there are console-based MMOs such as Final Fantasy and EverQuest Online Adventures. In fact, World of Warcraft has millions of subscribers. Many companies offer MMO games in a variety of genres. When you think about it, some MMO games have more people playing than the population of small countries! Today, mobile MMO games, including scratchcards, are on the rise.
To illustrate, the gambling industry emulates the MMO philosophy since it is a collective environment where people can make gaming even more interactive. Some gamers may compete against each other in FIFA or go after the other team in Counter Strike.
It isn’t any surprise that mobile will soon be the avenue of choice for playing MMO games. Whether it is through a smartphone, tablet or phablet–players want the ability to engage in their games from anywhere and at anytime. Today, the PC MMO industry comprises 60 percent of the PC game market. In 2016, mobile gaming will take a larger share than PC, up 21.3 percent globally–according to Newzoo.
Why travel to Macau or Atlantic city when you can play from the comfort of your mobile device, with other people from across the globe? Manish Agarwal, CEO, Nazara Games said “High-speed Internet connections are enabling concurrent game plays on users’ devices. Developers are also enthused by the capabilities of mobile devices and their high-quality graphic cards, and are creating console-quality titles for mobile devices. These two factors, coupled with the convenience of playing from anywhere, are fueling the growth of MMO games on mobiles worldwide.” Imagine visiting outer space while catching Pokémon monsters.
Heavy character progression
It seems that players want to engage deeply in their games. This is part of the reason why MMO is so popular. Players can get points for killing and catching monsters and/or completing quests. When reality bites, why not get lost in the world of MMO? Then, there is the social aspect where players need to team up with others in order to progress more quickly. Some gamers take it a bit overboard, ignoring their real-world schedules in order to stay on top of their gaming world. British company, Jagex, does this so perfectly with Runescape.
What players also love about MMO is the opportunity to interact with others in the same MMO community. In a world where people seem attached to their devices, this appears to be a good way to meet other like-minded individuals. Many MMOs support clans or in-game guilds. Also, they often require some form of teamwork to get through specific portions of the game.
Some tasks ask players to take roles in the group such as protectors, healers or damaging enemies. If you were to play a table game or video poker, the social interaction can come along through the player and dealer scenario. There are so many friendships that bloom as the result of taking part in an MMO community. If you wanted to be Wonder Woman, you could check out DC Universe.
Whether it is role-playing games (RPGs) or MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena), MMO does not show any sign of stopping. Players like strategy titles that they can play with other gamers. In addition, some of the older generation enjoys that their favorite Nintendo and Sega games are now available on their mobile device. The clans are what really get people. Right now, it seems like a niche phenomenon, but this will turn into a mass phenomenon.
It seems so real
Gaming truly enhances interaction when the visual graphics are advanced enough to seem real. Like watching a movie, players get to build virtual relationships with their characters. In addition, the use of photo-realism may soon be part of real-term rendering where human CGI makes it difficult to tell the difference between reality and fantasy. And, imagine all of this through the lens of virtual reality.
MMO is here to stay and will only get bigger. You don’t have to time travel or even leave your bed when you have your device, your clan and your favorite MMO game.