As many seasoned gamers will testify, “back in the day” (typically, the 1980s and 1990s), there were few pastimes more exhilarating for a youngster than inserting a cartridge or a disc into a handset or console and immersing oneself in those classic arcade games of yore, from Super Mario to Contra.
Fast-forward to the 2020s, and not only has the popularity of gaming exploded (Forbes reports that the industry is on course to generate revenues in excess of $200bn by 2023) but the way in which its devotees engage with their favorite titles has morphed significantly. More and more people are now playing online.
So much so, in fact, that some industry watchers are predicting that those conventional citadels of gameplay, brick-and-mortar casinos, will in the foreseeable future largely be superseded. By what? Emerging technology, in short. Huge numbers of people are now discovering that they can play their favorite casino games from their own living rooms or “on the go” on their smartphones thanks to the explosive rise of online alternatives.
Why, after all, expend the effort (and expense)of lengthy journeys to a brick-and-mortar business when you play at the best NJ Online Casino from the comfort of your own couch?
There are certain precautions it’s wise to take, of course, like selecting a reputable, properly certified online casino before you get those slots spinning or start a game of Texas Hold’em. Resorts Casino, for example, which began life as a brick-and-mortar enterprise in New Jersey, had decades of experience in the casino industry to draw from when creating a truly state-of-the-art online alternative. That’s “tried and tested” on steroids, basically.
But, of course, it’s not only casino games that have taken the “online” turn. Thanks to the increasingly widespread adoption of cloud technology and huge improvements in internet connectivity, game developers are creating games specifically for the burgeoning online market. The drivers for the proliferating popularity of online games are immediately discernable: you no longer need to be tethered to a console to play them, and online games come with automatically included add-ons and expansion packs.
Freed from a console, players are now able to stream compressed video frames onto their devices just as they would with an Amazon Prime subscription. The key difference with online games, of course, is that, unlike streamed movies and serialized dramas, they respond to user input.
This is a key reason why Microsoft, for example, is pioneering its gradual march from Xbox consoles to Xbox Cloud Gaming services – and users can see first-hand that there’s no discernible difference in the gameplay experience between the streamed game and the console alternatives.
That doesn’t mean that the console is dead, however. In the case of Microsoft, the company is developing powerful new hardware (Xbox Series X) that not only hugely improves the frame rates and load times for newly optimized console games but includes support for game streaming too.
And Microsoft’s not alone. Amazon, too, is getting in on the online gaming act with its Luna cloud gaming service and Apple has launched its subscription-based online gaming offerings in the form of Apple Arcade. Rumor has it that Netflix is considering a similar move.
All of which boils down to this: the way you play games has changed. Welcome to the online era.