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What is Online Gaming?

By K. Schurman
Updated May 16, 2024
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Online gaming can refer to any type of game that someone can play through the Internet or over a computer network. Most of the time, it refers to video games played over the Internet, where multiple players are in different locations across the world. Online gaming also can refer to the idea of gambling over the Internet, through an online casino or an online poker room.

Having an optimal online gaming experience typically requires a high-speed Internet connection. Proper hardware will also be required, whether it's a computer or a gaming console, such as Xbox® or PlayStation®, that's connected to the Internet. Some Internet games require a specific piece of controlling hardware, such as a joystick or a game controller. Gaming software, which could be a CD or DVD that contains the gaming software or which could be available as a simple download through the Internet, will also be a necessity. With some games, the latest Flash software and Web browser versions will be needed.

In terms of video games, online gaming is growing in popularity for a variety of reasons. Gamers can easily find opponents of a similar skill level when playing a head-to-head game over the Internet. Players also can compete in massively multiplayer games, where dozens of players play an ongoing game in a virtual world. Often times, participants can communicate with other gamers through text chat sessions during online gaming or, sometimes, players can actually speak to other players, using special audio hardware.

Some online games charge a monthly fee for access to the video game software. World of Warcraft (WoW) is one such game. A monthly fee might also be offered to give players access to the network that helps them find and connect to other gamers remotely. When joining a multiplayer game, participants will have to agree to a set of rules, often called an End User License Agreement (EULA) that helps prevent conflicts between players and that defines the required behavior for players. Those who violate the rules will be banned from playing the game.

Online gambling is sometimes considered a form of online gaming. This type of game, however, is illegal for residents of some countries. Most online casinos or poker rooms are based in countries that allow online gambling; it's up to the user to know his or her country's laws regarding online gambling. When using an online casino, gamblers usually will fund an account at the Web site from a credit card or bank account, then gamble with that money. Online gaming can involve almost any type of gambling, such as electronic slot machines, electronic poker, and sports wagering.

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Discussion Comments

By ReneHamm — On Aug 05, 2018

Online gaming is very popular nowadays, players are crazy about online games like Call of Duty, Destiny 2, Grand theft auto 5, Player unknown battlegrounds etc. Also, there is a different requirement of PC for each game.

But that won't make anyone stop playing. It has become a culture nowadays. You can also buy Call of Duty World War 2 series, Destiny 2, Grand theft auto, Fortnite like games from different websites.

By lmorales — On Oct 02, 2010

@abiane - You should be careful with those online game websites that have poker and such because a lot of them are a jip. It's funny because they lure a lot of people in, but the best thing you can do (other than steer clear of them) is to check out the online games reviews sites or just type in the site's name along with the word "review" into the Google website and you'll have your answer soon enough.

By abiane — On Oct 02, 2010

@empanadas - Big Fish Games is huge and I get all my games from them. I remember when Bejeweled first came out and now it's one of the best online games out there. There are also a lot of online casino games out there that people win real money with, I hear.

By empanadas — On Oct 02, 2010

@ellaesans - Yes, there is so much more than things like WoW and FF (World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy). Big Fish Games is one of the leading sites to play online games with. They feature hidden object games, puzzle games, and time management games as well.

By ellaesans — On Oct 02, 2010

Online gaming is HUGE! From World of Warcraft to Final Fantasy Online and more. The thing is that a lot of people thing that MMORPG (Multi-Massive Online Role Playing Games or Massivel Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) is the only thing there is out there to play. However, there are a lot of fun online games to play as well that feature a multitude of genres.

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