The Roots of Online Multiplayer Gaming


Recently, I was talking to some friends about an upcoming MMO release, and I realized how much the online gaming industry has really progressed since its founding.

I remember playing free online games years ago, that is, on a website called Bonus. I will never forget to dial (respect for the old school 56k) on my parents computer and verify it. It was one of the most valuable hidden gems of the Internet that populated in the late 90’s. This website offered a multitude of games aimed especially at tweens. I clearly remember some really cool and simple games that seem increasingly difficult to find in the modern era of MMORPGs and fast-paced first person shooter games. These games kept me busy for hours after school. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that this free-to-play phenomenon really took over the web.

One game that stands out above all the others in my memory is Battlefield. Battlefield was an online tank game that was revolutionary for its time. Bonus got this right, indirectly creating an industry that would later learn how to profit from free games in ways that Bonus never imagined. Battlefield was unique in that it was completely user-based. You competed directly in a massively multiplayer environment against others. The gameplay remained simple and at the same time cutting-edge in the era of the game of the late 1990s. I continued to play this game until my late teens and early twenties, following the community that shared my feelings. to him. Because the game was based solely on the interaction and competition of the players, a community had formed and sustained the life of the game long after Bonus closed its main website. When Bonus finally filed for bankruptcy in 2008, the community he left behind persisted. Battlefield was the first in a long line of games that induced user loyalty by capitalizing, albeit in this case accidentally, the social aspect of online interaction through games. Unfortunately, Bonus’ failure to realize the value of social platforms was his biggest mistake.

Today, developer giants like Blizzard and Square Enix dominate the world of online multiplayer gaming with content-rich subscription-based RPGs. These developers have capitalized on the craze, implementing subscription-based services with multiple outlets for social interaction and competition. However, a new kind of game has started to emerge in response to the dominance of major developers and abuse of subscriptions. These games are free and implement detailed, ad-based revenue models to drive growth and development, leaving little to no cost for the everyday user to cover. Despite this return to founding principles, it seems that the world of online multiplayer games has become completely dominated by MMORPGs. What happened to fast-action games like those developed by the old Bonus gaming website and other small startups that featured pure online multiplayer environments and action-packed anticipation and reaction? Are they forever lost in the folds of history, or is there another stage of rebirth in the world of online gaming that has yet to be realized?

Recently, a new game very similar to Bonus’s Battlefield was released called uTanks. Through uTanks, modern