In July of this year comScore published the results from a global study on the amount of internet users that play online games. They discovered that 217+ million people play online games every day, the survey included mostly browser based sites and avoided any of the big names in online gaming but the numbers and estimated annual growth of 17% shows the potential these types of games have. If they included some of the more popular PC based online games like World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings, as well as the popular multi platform titles like the newly released Call of Duty: Black Ops, the number would have been far greater.
Consoles still haven't truly expanded into the online world just yet; sure a few of them can offer a multiplayer feature but there has yet to be a game that offers real depth online. Some may say that titles like Monster Hunter, Left 4 Dead and Call of Duty are the perfect online games but you can only really find content filled online game play with PC MMORPGs. Sadly for PC gamers, publishing games for the PC has not become as easy as it is for their console competitors. Everyone has seen the big name flops, from Sims Online to Darkfall Online, plenty of heavily invested projects have fallen short of player expectations, yet you rarely see hyped console titles falling so short. I believe this is a large reason behind new companies being afraid to grab a slice of this volatile market. Playstation 4 will boast to be the next generation of gaming, what kind of changes and improvements can we expect for online console gaming?
Everyone has their idea of the perfect online game, whether you want a virtual world full of unique people or an endless battlefield full of 1000s of corpses, we all hope that someday, a company will deliver. What better hope is there than the next generation of consoles? If there is one thing most online games share, it’s the inability to bring different players together. You don't often find MMORPG fans playing an MMOFPS, most people have a preference for game genre and only deviate for special titles. The fundamental weakness in today’s online games is the limitations they force upon themselves, but there have been a few games to try to break the mould. Titles like APB attempted to create a game with multiple genres involved, from driving to shooting; it had the potential to pull in a lot more gamers than your average online game. It's a gamble and sadly for them it didn't pay off as APB closed its servers earlier this year.
If the Playstation 4 can really offer the next generation of online gaming, could we expect the likes of the Grand Theft Auto series to expand? A virtual city, each player choosing the life of a civilian or crook, working in an office or robbing other people on the street, including all genres from sim to shooter. Expecting this kind of huge leap in any industry is setting yourself up for disappointment but there are many realistic improvements the Playstation 4 can bring that are within the ability of the technology we have today.
If you've ever played an online PC MMORPG, you will know that the majority lack any real animation interaction and almost all have terribly slow combat when compared to games of similar genre on the consoles. The typical MMORPG will have you swinging around your axe surrounded by flashing lights as you repeatedly hit several keys in a reoccurring order, rarely does your target interact with your animations, they usually flinch or play a sound effect. As you progress you're rewarded with more of the same quest types, hollow story lines and lackluster characters, I find myself questioning why anyone can still play them when compared to any console titles, even that of the Playstation 2, PC games just don't offer the same thing. The likes of Final Fantasy X (PS2), Legend of Legaia (PS1), Red Dead Redemption (PS3, Xbox360) and Demon Souls (PS3) all boast great combat, game play and content while limiting (If any) the amount of online play. Console games are always the first to break new barriers, introducing new, unique combat and game mechanics and even new ways of telling a story with additions like voice-acting. PC games have dominated the online market for too long, the new titles are dropping like flies and very few live up to the hype. The industry is just waiting for one of the console giants to grab online play with both hands.
They've already made the amazing games, they have the recipes for strong a franchise, and all that is left is for somebody in the next generation to take that big step. Will it be the Playstation 4?
Article by - Blaine Smith
Unveiled in February 2013, the future of online gaming for Sony was clear: increase the social interaction between users. Previously, games have had a clearly defined single player and multiplayer mode, separated by menus and never the two should meet. Games like Demon's Souls and Dark Souls intertwined single and multiplayer neatly but were few and between; this sort of interaction is just the beginning, according to Sony.
One example the company has given of adding multiplayer aspects to single player gaming is with Heavy Rain. Imagine making a choice and seeing the choices all your friends have made? Do you trust in your friend's judgment or go a different path? Persona 4 Golden for the Vita toyed with this concept as well but Sony wants to make this interaction the rule and not the exception.
Sony wants you to be connected to the PSN and your friends at all times, even when playing alone. To them, the future of online gaming is in community building; the "Share" button enables you to share content no matter what sort of content it is, for example, prompting you to always want to share your gaming experiences. The line between single and multiplayer is becoming more blurred every day. What does the future of online gaming hold? A community presence in all your games, for better or for worse.
What do you think about this future? Do you wish for your single player to remain offline or do you welcome the community? Let us know in the comments and on the PS4 Experts forums! For more information on the PlayStation Network and how it is changing the future of online gaming, visit the PlayStation 4 Network Page.
Update by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 04/22/13