Not so long ago, gaming was perceived as a solitary hobby, something favored by reclusive tech geeks with limited social skills. How times have changed. Events over recent years have demonstrated how online games provide a new way to get social with friends and loved ones no matter how far apart.
The choice of multiplayer online games is staggering, but there are a handful that have literally taken the world by storm. Here, we look at three of the most popular.
Fortnite – the game that brought battle royale into the mainstream
Epic Games must have been quietly confident that they had a winner on their hands with Fortnite. But even their most optimistic sales forecasts could not have predicted just how huge a craze they were unleashing on the world. From Australia to Zimbabwe, Fortnite was the game that everyone wanted to play in 2017, and while that hype has died down a little now, there are still approximately 80 million active players per month and probably something approaching 450 million registered players in total.
The clever thing is that Epic keep finding new ways to keep Fortnite fresh, from using the platform to host metaverse concerts for the likes of Ariane Grande, to the live launch of Fortnite Chapter 4. Fortnite is also starting to challenge older games like League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Offensive as a headline game in the eSport arena, so its future seems assured.
Minecraft’s world of infinite possibilities
You could be forgiven for thinking that Minecraft has been around forever, but it was released in 2011 – the same year that Game of Thrones premiered and Maroon 5 had the Moves like Jagger. The game places players in a world of infinite – and randomly generated – possibilities.
There are about 140 million active players in the Minecraft universe. To give a little context, that is almost six times the entire population of Australia! The industry has put plenty of research into trying to understand what it is about Minecraft that makes it so popular – it is a quality they would love to bottle! While there are, of course, several factors, the community atmosphere around the game is clearly important.
Poker – the casino classic is bigger than ever
The original multiplayer game, and one that predates the internet by decades, poker has found a whole new army of fans in the online age. Around 120 million people play poker, and it has truly global popularity. For example, playing poker online in Australia is becoming massive, especially following the events of 2020/21. Australian poker pros like Joe Hachem and Michael Addamo are inspiring even more Australian amateurs to take up the game.
The beauty of online poker is that it makes the game so much more accessible to new players. In the pre-internet days, you could read poker books and work through routines with a deck of cards, but the only real way to learn was to sit down at a poker table among more experienced players. That could seem understandably daunting. Today, players can cut their teeth on simple games against the computer such as video poker, and graduate onto dealer variations such as Casino Holdem before they even have to consider going up against other players.