As time progresses and as technology catches up to intent, it is becoming more and more obvious that the majority of gamers love interacting with other gamers.
Whether that’s through direct competition/cooperation or whether that’s discussion and assisting on the internet, we desperately want to play alongside other gamers.
With new consoles on the horizon and with everything we know seemingly pointing to a far more social generation, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that online gaming is the future.
Nobody could have predicted the way that online gaming grew this generation.
Although various methods of online play had been available for decades before Microsoft released their Xbox 360 console, it was there that competitive gaming on the scale we’re used to today really took off.
From Gears of War to Call of Duty, the 360 is built around the idea of playing with friends or strangers.
That’s not to say that Sony were left behind. The PlayStation network was a capable means of playing online, but lacked some of the social features available on the 360.
Even then, both companies had a lot to learn, and to add, to make connecting with other gamers absolutely perfect.
Perhaps it’s Nintendo’s Miiverse that really hints at why online gaming is the future. The Miiverse is a microblogging tool that lets owners of the Wii U speak and share their thoughts on any given title.
This has proven to be an excellent tactic on Nintendo’s part, and people have really taken to it. From stunning artwork to full-on protests, the Miiverse is an excellent place for gamers to discuss the things they love (or hate).
And it’s only going to get better. In a future update, Nintendo will allow you to place gameplay cues into your Miiverse post, meaning other players can jump into a time trial or match directly from the Miiverse, with no fuss.
And that really is going to be the hook of the next four or five years of gaming. There are a lot of buzzwords – integrated, connected – which effectively sum up the vibe, but in short it means a group of gamers who are closer together, even when we’re worlds apart.
Whether playing alone or with friends, you’ll have a constant option to interact with people who can advice or join your in your game, either via the cloud or simply via on-screen messages.
Online gaming really is the future. We’re going to be able to play, share and enjoy our hobby more effectively, forming friendships and making enemies along the way.
Whether you’re using Gaikai or simply video chatting, the social opportunities have never been more varied, while the chance to jump online and top the leaderboard or be the first over the finish line is only going to improve.
Sharing videos and letting people watch you play is even going to improve single player games. It’s really quite difficult to come up with a downside. Online gaming has changed the way we play, and it’s going to continue to do so.
Mat Growcot is a freelance video game reviews writer. The next article he plans to write is The Last of Us Review