Online Games: Reaching Out to Adults

Changing the way we use media, yet again, online games are among today’s most common forms of entertainment. Transcending countries, races, sexes and even age groups, this digital diversion, over the years, has turned into a massive market that keeps moving forward and expanding at a speed that shatters boundaries. And with most of today’s lifestyles revolving around the internet, online gaming’s ability to serve as an escape from the harshness of reality, made it a fad that, at some point, has bred addiction among its consumers.

Andreas Neus said that online gaming is not exactly a new phenomenon. According to an online gaming expert and consultant for IBM Germany, this trend started ten to fifteen years ago with MUDs or multi-user dungeons being its most primitive form. Being text-based, MUDs require players to enter texts to interact with the game’s environment. Whether the player wishes to go forward or backward, north or south, he is compelled to key in syntaxes to create any form of activity.

The next major milestone did not come into fruition until about 1997 with the release of Ultima Online, a graphics-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Then in 2004 entered World of Warcraft, universally praised by critics since then, and which has more than 12 million subscribers as of October 2010.

So who are these more than 12 million online gamers? A new study sponsored by PopCap, creator of popular games such as Bejeweled and Insaniquarium, reveals that most people who play online games (including Facebook favorites like Farmville and the likes) are 42-year-old women. Contradicting the time-old belief that only small children are drawn to the online game craze, the study confirms that this form of entertainment caters to a huge portion of the world’s population, including adults.

Then again, it should be noted that online games are not entirely about hunting down the antagonist, slaying evil wizards or wielding dual .45’s, all the while keeping your virtual self alive. Many online games are, in fact, more complicated than that and would require not only hasty fingers but also logic. Thus, as the online games grow in numbers and mature in themes, so do its avid fanatics of diverse demographics. And unless you are a hermit stuck in a cave for the last twenty years, this fact should not come out as a surprise anymore.


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