USA Online Multiplayer Games

The popularity of multiplayer online games has exploded over the last few years, as breakthroughs in technology have allowed for the most intense and realistic player experience without actually stepping onto a physical battlefield or fantasy realm. And while many online multiplayer games exist in other genres than the first person shooter (FPS) variety, this type of game makes up one of the biggest and most dedicated segments of online games played by a group of people whose decisions and actions have real time consequences in the virtual gaming theater. Just how popular are online multiplayer games?

The globally popular Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 became the largest entertainment launch when it was released last November and sold 6.5 million copies in its first 24 hours of availability. That beats all Hollywood movies, CD and album releases, as it rang up $400 million over that period of time, generating almost $17 million per hour. Available across multiple gaming platforms such as Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (PS3), players from around the world communicate verbally via headset and an Internet connection, working in concert as a team as they track their progress and their team's on a battlefield via computer monitor in real time.

The popular Battlefield 3 is played very similarly to the Call of Duty franchise, allowing a small group of players to band together as a team over the PS3 or Xbox 360 virtual battlefields delivered by physical gaming consoles located at each gamer's home base. Gears of War 3 is another of the battlefield based FPS multiplayer online games which bands together small groups of gamers, but there are also those massively multiplayer online games (MMOG) which a player can access through their gaming console and an Internet connection which are capable of supporting hundreds or even thousands of players simultaneously.

The most popular sub genre of MMOG online multiplayer games is the massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), and these incredibly detailed and in-depth games continue to evolve and exist long after a gamer goes off-line. As in all role-playing games (RPG), you assume the role of a particular character, often in a fantasy environment, and control that character's actions and behavior. World of Warcraft (WOW) is arguably the most popular MMORPG, with an incredible 10 million subscribers as of February, 2012. And Star Wars: The Old Republic debuted in 2011, ringing up more than 1 million subscribers in only 3 days after launch, setting an MMO launch record.

With the Internet a relatively young development, having been created in 1991, many of the gamers interested in multiplayer online games have been raised literally with a mouse or joystick in their hand. These young people are computer literate from an extremely young age, and are driving the incredible growth and financial impact that online multiplayer games delivers on a subscription basis to the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii game consoles. With the current popularity level, and financial status as a $100 billion a year business, multiplayer online games are definitely an entertainment option that is here to stay.