When we refer to online games we are normally referring to video type games that we play on a computer via the internet. Some video games are played over the internet using mobile phones and video consoles, but generally speaking online games means computer games that need an internet connection to be played. Simple text-based multiplayer games were the first of these types of games as internet connections were slow and expensive when these games were first introduced in the 1980s. Gradually these games became popular in the 1990s, with today’s online games featuring virtual communities, realistic graphics and multiplayer games where people can even play one to one or in knock out tournaments for cash prizes. We all know that the internet is the fastest growing market place in the history of the world but did you know that there is an online games sector that is growing 4 times faster than the internet overall! Yes! and it’s the “Online Skill Games” market.There are many styles of Online GamesSome of the different types of online games that exist:1. Real time strategy games: This type of game is all about strategy where, for your army to fight successfully against the other internet players you need to develop a game plan by building lots of resources2. First person shooter: Here the players compete with each other one to one. In most first-person type games, the online game allows the death match or arena style of play. In this style of game play the view you see is the one seen from your character’s eyes.3. Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG): In this type of game each person has to keep trying to reach the next highest level until he has reached the top one written for that game and these online games can have, simultaneously, thousands of players from every part of the globe, playing in a giant virtual world interacting against or with each other. Gamers can keep playing these types of games for months or even years!4. Browser type games: These are pastime games that are quick, simple and small that are played in your browser. The popular Java and Shockwave technologies are used to develop these games.5. Online skill games: An online skill based game is a web game played in tournament format or one to one. Each player pays a cash entry fee to play with a cash or merchandise prize going to the winner or winners. The outcome of each competition is based on the player’s ability and performance not luck.How Do Online Game Companies Make MoneyAll games today, are playable online. How do we make money? This is the question that companies making the online games have to ask themselves. The majority of companies make single-player games that are played at home and in this the player has to beat the artificial intelligence of the enemy. Today these games normally include an online multiplayer version which can be played against or with other Internet players. By selling their game DVD/CDs is how these companies earn their profit e.g. Warcraft 3 and Counter Strike. Advertising and promotions is how browser game companies make their money. MMORPG companies generally charge their players a monthly fee and continue to add content by programming new scenarios etc in their games e.g. Everquest 2 and World of Warcraft. Some don’t, but survive because their DVD/CD sales are high e.g. Guild Wars.What is the future of online games?Soon there will be a new entry into the online skill games market. According to their Free Online Games Market Report they will be the first company with their new online skill games platform, to launch a business that encapsulates three of the newest phenomena on the internet today. Online Games Entertainment, Social Networking using web 2.0 and a new way of marketing which has been described as Social Marketing 2.0. One of the core differences with this new platform over the conventional models is that we the players can if we want share in the profits while we play our games. With the market today (2007) worth approximately $5.2 billion USD and predicted to rise in the next 3 years to over $13 billion USD that’s $412 per second and with social networking sites already reaching 45% of web users and the 4 major Instant Messengers having more than 400 million users between them this potentially could be a whole lot of money.
Scrabble is commonly cited as being the world’s most popular word game. Truly, Scrabble is a popular board game played throughout the world on kitchen tables and in a thriving international tournament scene. Is it, however, accurate to describe Scrabble as a word game?At face value, a bag of one hundred letter tiles with each player having racks of seven letters at a time from which to form words and place on the board, it may appear to be a word game. On a closer examination, one must question that common assumption.If Scrabble was truly a word game, one could expect that the most expert players would be those players with the best linguistic skills. These would include authors, journalists, language professors and similar professions. The reality tells a different story. These occupations are a rarity amongst Scrabble players at the top of the international competitive ranks.If you were to survey the participants at any of the biennial World Scrabble Championships, you would discover a very significant proportion of these elite level Scrabble players come from mathematics, actuarial, accounting, architectural and engineering occupations. These professions reflect the strategic skills, the critical and strategic thinking skills and the mathematical and statistical skills that marks the difference between a winner and loser in Scrabble, or the difference between a masters level competitor and an intermediate or novice player.Vocabulary is far less important than one might initially imagine in a Scrabble game. Whilst obviously vocabulary plays an important, in fact essential, role in the game, vocabulary alone won’t win many Scrabble games. You could liken it a little to war. In a battle, one side may have a majority of the weapons and even a larger army, though without a solid strategic battle plan the war is all but over before it even begins. Without a strong battle plan, the biggest army with the most weapons will not defeat their opposition.On the Scrabble board, strategic decisions are made with every move. You may have a great word ready to play, but which is the best position on the board to play it? There will often be multiple positions where a word could be played. Rapid mental calculations need to be made as to which position will produce the highest score. Even then, it may not always be wise to play in the highest scoring position if, for example, it opens up a triple-triple bonus scoring opportunity to your opponent. Settling for a different position on the board for a lower score may sometimes be the better strategic decision.Likewise, the strategic player considers the balance between vowels and consonants in the rack. It is often the wise choice to play a small scoring word and maintain a well balanced rack than to go for a higher scoring word that leaves you with no vowels at all for your next move.The strategic player will also consider the statistical probabilities of drawing good tiles from the Scrabble letter bag. Playing away a single tile from your rack in the hope of picking up the Q is generally unwise due to the low probability of actually picking out that Q. The same play for the purposes of picking up a far more common letter that you need to form your next bonus word, such as an E, can more often be rewarding.To further reinforce the case that Scrabble isn’t primarily a word game, a look at some of the recent victors in international tournaments tells a vivid story. A growing trend is for competitors from countries such as Thailand and Malaysia, where English is not even the primary language, to walk away with the tournament trophies. What these competitors may lack in terms of every day English language vocabulary, they more than compensate with their strategic, mathematical, statistical and logic skills.