How the Evolution of the Internet Has Affected Gaming

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Video games have captured the American psyche in a way that few recent cultural phenomena can match. Despite being a relatively recent invention in the grand scheme of things, games have secured a strong position in global culture and only seem to grow in prominence year by year. The American video game industry is worth roughly $18.4 billion in 2017. The global market is expected to eclipse $90 billion by 2020.

The evolution of gaming over the years has been swift and marvelous to behold and was hastened once internet access became commonplace. In the early days of Pong, gaming was a family activity, in which groups of friends and relatives would gather around a console and enjoy each other’s company. The 90s ushered in the era of LAN parties in which gaming enthusiasts would set up a network of connected PCs and spend hours or days gaming together. The power of video games to bring people together cannot be underestimated, and once the internet got involved gaming began to reach its true social and competitive potential.

Gaming in the Early Days of the Internet

Once games started connecting players over the internet, the video game industry truly exploded. The popularity of single-player, story-driven games remained, and is still a driving force in the industry today. The revolution was driven by that ever-present social side of gaming, however. Competitive and cooperative multiplayer games began to emerge, building fan bases by connecting players within the game world.

These games experienced a golden age in the early 2000s when well-known titles like World of Warcraft drew in millions of dedicated players. Entire subcultures spawned from the gaming world. A cursory google search will reveal dozens of gaming-centric internet forums born in the golden days of massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). Some have been abandoned for years; others are still flourishing hubs of activity.

As gamers grew more competitive, they began to demand more from their internet service. A fast and stable connection could make the difference between victory and defeat, and no one wanted to be known as the player that ruined an hours-long raid because their internet connection lagged out.

The War Against Latency

Hardcore gamers hate Wi-Fi connections. As counterintuitive as it sounds, modern wireless connections just aren’t as fast or stable as an old-fashioned ethernet cable.

In competitive environments, some players obsess over their “ping,” a numerical representation of the latency between their device and the game’s server. Too much latency hampers the gamer’s ability to interact with the virtual world. In a competitive environment, this can be a virtual death sentence for the individual and a huge inconvenience to other players, as the afflicted player ends up rubberbanding (slang for bouncing around in seemingly random directions) around the game world, not seeing the same things at the same time as everyone else.

Seeking out a wired internet connection whenever possible was the first shot fired in the war against latency, but soon after gamers demanded faster and faster connections from their internet service providers, and newer, more complex games started taking a greater toll on the hardware they ran on.

Modern Gaming and Fiber Internet

With the arrival of current-gen consoles like the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, and the increased prominence of digital PC gaming marketplaces like Steam, the internet plays a greater role in gaming than ever before. Many games are now largely cloud-based, and opting to purchase a digital copy of a game rather than buying a disc in the store is a unique take on software as a service (SaaS). Internet speed doesn’t just determine the stability of your gaming session; it also determines how quickly you can download and start playing your newly-purchased games.

eSports are a recent driver of progress as well. Professional gamers, a field that would have been laughed at 15 years ago, are starting to make a name for themselves. In a move that made waves throughout the gaming community, Schalke 04, a prominent German soccer club, recently created an official eSports team. Fellow German club Wolfsburg quickly followed suit. Some countries are buying into the hype. One study reveals that 20% of Germans are eSports fans.

For these professionals, a bad internet connection is simply unacceptable. And so, the gaming world is on the verge of demanding fiber internet – the fastest commercially available connection, which brings extra speed and stability thanks to the superiority of fiber optic cable over traditional cabling.

Your business probably doesn’t own an eSports team; you might have played a video game or two in the past decade. That’s beside the point. Fiber internet is becoming a fixture across a variety of industries and is the only answer if you’re not satisfied with your current internet connection. It eliminates nearly all latency issues and provides a stable and fast connection that allows your business to use other technologies, like the cloud, without breaking a sweat.

If you think fiber internet might be right for your business, we’d love to sit down and discuss what Xpert Technologies can do for you. If your property is fiber-ready, we can set you up with the fastest internet connection you’ve ever seen. If it works for pro gamers, it’ll work for you.