When we refer to online games we are normally referring to video type games that we play on a computer via the internet. Some video games are played over the internet using mobile phones and video consoles, but generally speaking online games means computer games that need an internet connection to be played. Simple text-based multiplayer games were the first of these types of games as internet connections were slow and expensive when these games were first introduced in the 1980s. Gradually these games became popular in the 1990s, with today’s online games featuring virtual communities, realistic graphics and multiplayer games where people can even play one to one or in knock out tournaments for cash prizes. We all know that the internet is the fastest growing market place in the history of the world but did you know that there is an online games sector that is growing 4 times faster than the internet overall! Yes! and it’s the “Online Skill Games” market.There are many styles of Online GamesSome of the different types of online games that exist:1. Real time strategy games: This type of game is all about strategy where, for your army to fight successfully against the other internet players you need to develop a game plan by building lots of resources2. First person shooter: Here the players compete with each other one to one. In most first-person type games, the online game allows the death match or arena style of play. In this style of game play the view you see is the one seen from your character’s eyes.3. Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG): In this type of game each person has to keep trying to reach the next highest level until he has reached the top one written for that game and these online games can have, simultaneously, thousands of players from every part of the globe, playing in a giant virtual world interacting against or with each other. Gamers can keep playing these types of games for months or even years!4. Browser type games: These are pastime games that are quick, simple and small that are played in your browser. The popular Java and Shockwave technologies are used to develop these games.5. Online skill games: An online skill based game is a web game played in tournament format or one to one. Each player pays a cash entry fee to play with a cash or merchandise prize going to the winner or winners. The outcome of each competition is based on the player’s ability and performance not luck.How Do Online Game Companies Make MoneyAll games today, are playable online. How do we make money? This is the question that companies making the online games have to ask themselves. The majority of companies make single-player games that are played at home and in this the player has to beat the artificial intelligence of the enemy. Today these games normally include an online multiplayer version which can be played against or with other Internet players. By selling their game DVD/CDs is how these companies earn their profit e.g. Warcraft 3 and Counter Strike. Advertising and promotions is how browser game companies make their money. MMORPG companies generally charge their players a monthly fee and continue to add content by programming new scenarios etc in their games e.g. Everquest 2 and World of Warcraft. Some don’t, but survive because their DVD/CD sales are high e.g. Guild Wars.What is the future of online games?Soon there will be a new entry into the online skill games market. According to their Free Online Games Market Report they will be the first company with their new online skill games platform, to launch a business that encapsulates three of the newest phenomena on the internet today. Online Games Entertainment, Social Networking using web 2.0 and a new way of marketing which has been described as Social Marketing 2.0. One of the core differences with this new platform over the conventional models is that we the players can if we want share in the profits while we play our games. With the market today (2007) worth approximately $5.2 billion USD and predicted to rise in the next 3 years to over $13 billion USD that’s $412 per second and with social networking sites already reaching 45% of web users and the 4 major Instant Messengers having more than 400 million users between them this potentially could be a whole lot of money.
Board games are actually very good for people, especially the mentally stimulating variations, but if you are also looking for some fresh air and a total family involvement then putt putt games should be on your to-do list as well. Putt putt games or miniature golf is a variety of golf. As opposed to the acre-wide facility necessary for a full-sized golf course, mini-golf is played on a customized course featuring obstacles such as partitions, tubes and tunnels divert the direction of the ball, and spinning and sliding contraptions that challenge one’s skill. Since it is played with the requisite golf equipment of golf balls and golf clubs, this game is very similar to actual golf.Putt putt games have the feel of actual golf, but its more emphasis on putting skill rather than with power strokes. For golf enthusiasts, this is good putting practice with a twist. You may already have your own backyard putting green and you do anything from twenty to a hundred strokes in a day or a week. Unfortunately, unless you have a very extensive manicured backyard your choice for practicing various approaches is very limited. And let’s face it, you may have your form buttoned down like clockwork, but putting the same ball down the same green in the very same direction for the umpteenth time makes things quite repetitive, doesn’t it? You will soon be craving for some variation short of going to the actual golf course. However, time constraints and other considerations like a group which doesn’t exactly enjoy real golf as much as you do make a game of golf a distant option. Not everyone is a golf nut like you.Board games, on the other hand, are excellent for short periods of time. Sure, scrabble and monopoly are fun for the whole gang, but sooner or later everyone is dying to try something new, maybe something not played on a couch during rainy weekends. In this case miniature golf or putt putt games can provide the needed diversion that people with more active lifestyles might be craving for. Tickets for admission to the various parks offering putt putt games are readily obtainable and there are even packages like unlimited playing for a day if a morning of putt putt is not enough.One of the advantages of putt putt games over board games and the newer pastimes such as computer gaming is that the players offer a venue for much needed exercise. The courses themselves are not tenuous not exhausting – a mere ten feet is the average maximum. Quite a short distance considering that this is supposed to be miniaturized golf, but you are still standing in an open space enjoying fresh air and sunlight. You are not sitting static around a table waiting for your turn at the dice while munching on corn chips; you are walking around and practicing your putting while trying to make the ball negotiate challenging obstacles. You are sharpening your hand-eye coordination and having good outdoor fun at the same time.Putt putt games are also excellent for groups, the same thing as board games. You can have some healthy competition against each other without getting too aggressive as with contact sports. Consider this the middle ground between sports like tennis and chess: not too adrenaline-pumping but not so sedate either. After the competition has died down or everyone has had their fill of putt putt, most facilities offer dining and other relaxing options for a total weekend of unwinding for the whole family. You have to try mini-golf before you dismiss it as just another backyard hobby. You just might be coming back every weekend for more.