How has the Internet Evolved the Videogame Medium?

How has the Internet Evolved the Videogame Medium?

Kostas Anagnostou
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-567-4.ch027
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In this chapter we review and discuss the impact of mass adoption of the Internet and its assorted technologies is having on the evolution of the videogame medium. Specifically, we reflect on how the Internet has enabled the creation of novel game platforms and types, triggered the improvement of game development process, expanded the game audience and increased innovation in game creation. Crucially, the Internet has transformed videogames into a massive socialization platform with far reaching consequences into society and economy.
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A Brief Historical Perspective

In October 1972 the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) organized a large, very successful demonstration of a new network technology at the International Computer Communication Conference (Leiner et al. 2009). This was the first public demonstration of ARPANET, the progenitor of the Internet. Several years of standardization attempts followed and by 1985 the Internet was established as a technology supporting a broad community of researchers and developers and was beginning to be used by other communities for daily computer communications (Odlyzko 2003, Leiner et al. 2009). The first popular Internet application, electronic mail, was being used broadly across several communities, often with different systems, demonstrating the utility of broad-based electronic communications between people. In the late 80ies, several commercialization attempts of the primitive Internet were made by major companies like CompuServe and AOL. Each network had its own proprietary interface and a limited selection of content providers, and charged a premium for the service (Odlyzko 2003). Tim Berners Lee’s invention of the World Wide Web, as a more user-friendly interface to the Internet in the early 90ies, gave a boost to its popularity. By mid-1995, popular culture had begun to notice the web, and Netscape Navigator became the de facto standard for web browsing at that time (Peter 2003). In the same year Microsoft released its first edition of the Internet Explorer browser. Since the mid-90ies the Internet has been growing at a rapid rate, further fueled by Web 2.0 technologies and the ability given to users to create their own content and sites. In addition to that social networking sites, which were launched as early as 1997 (Boyd et al. 2007) and became massively popular with MySpace and Facebook, encourage the creation of ever expanding social networks of people, allow the sharing of information of any type and have made the Internet known to and used by an even broader audience.

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