The world of online gaming is a whole different beast than the one we’re used to in the real world. Whereas the real world provides physical security, an online space needs to be open to all comers.
This isn’t limited to gaming either – the likes of Craigslist, Dropbox, and Gmail all offer a shared space for anyone to become a member of and make use of. However, it is in gaming where this concept was first implemented and where it still continues today.
The first person to pioneer this concept was Markus “Notch” Persson. When he created Minecraft, back in 2009, he wanted to create a space where players could come together and have fun. So, he created a shared world where players could share their creations with each other and be the judge of quality – rather than using the traditional method of letting a computer algorithm decide. Persson’s vision was ahead of its time, but the idea quickly caught on and was adopted by other developers.
GTA and the Evolution of Online Gaming
The Grand Theft Auto series has always been a popular choice when it comes to gaming. Originally created by Canadian company Rockstar North, the open-world games follow the adventures of three distinct characters: Franklin, a pro-wrestler and “persistent prankster”; Michael, a “smartass” and “lunatic” who likes causing trouble wherever he goes; and Trevor, a “narcissistic psychopath” who finds joy in tormenting others.
With each new game in the series, Rockstar expands on their formula and gives the player more freedom. Initially released in 2001 for the PlayStation, the first GTA game was an action-adventure title where players had to complete a series of missions for three different factions – the Outlaws, the Mob, and the Police – in order to progress through the game. The gameplay was highly focused on fighting and weapon handling, with Michael being the only character able to use a gun at the time. As technology improved and gaming became more popular, Rockstar continued to push the envelope and give the player more freedom. In 2009, the company released Grand Theft Auto IV for the PlayStation 3. This was one of the first games to feature online play and cooperative gameplay where players could work together to accomplish tasks and advance the story. It also introduced the player to the idea of “open world” gameplay, where the player is given complete freedom of movement in a largely unstructured environment – in this case, San Andreas, a large American city. In 2013, Grand Theft Auto V was released for the PlayStation 4. This game was even more groundbreaking as it was the first in the series to feature a female protagonist – the business-minded, athletic, and powerful Niko Bellic. Like most games today, GTA V is a massive open world game that follows the adventures of the player’s character as they progress through the game and gain experience points to level up and improve their character’s abilities. As with most games today, GTA V also features online multiplayer where players can go head-to-head in competitive or cooperative gameplay, as well as split screen co-op where players can play remotely and yet act on the screen as if they were sitting next to each other.
Mining for Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies
While working on Grand Theft Auto V, the developers at Rockstar North also had to consider how easy it would be for players to mine for cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, using hardware designed for that purpose – such as Graphic Processing Units (GPUs) or Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs). Since the release of GTA V, many other developers have followed suit and incorporated cryptocurrency mining into their games, too. As a result, gamers now have the ability to make money in a whole new way, thanks to the popularity of these games and the increased demand for cryptocurrencies created as a direct result of their popularity.
With advancements in technology, online gaming is becoming an even bigger deal. Thanks in part to the ease of setting up a gaming server at home and the rise of the “self-publishing” revolution, smaller teams and independent developers can now compete with the big boys. Additionally, companies such as Xbox and the PlayStation provide dedicated rooms for gamers to come together and socialize – as well as give lectures on game design and networking skills – so that they can advance their career in the field. With opportunities like these, it’s no wonder why some gamers prefer to remain anonymous, or at least use a different nickname for online play.
With all of this in mind, it’s clear that online gaming is a space that needs to be explored, used, and – if possible – enhanced by anyone who works in technology.