UNITED STATES—Online gaming has come a very long way in a short amount of time. Here is a look at some of the most defining moments in the evolution of online games.

The Creation of Online Games (Before the Internet!)

The first significant moment in the evolution of online gaming comes from the early days of packet-based computer networking during the 1970s. MUDs, the first of which was created by Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw at the University of Essex in England in 1978, were an early example of online games. The first game MUD1 was originally confined to an internal network, but in 1980, it was connected to ARPANET. The ARPANET was one of the first networks to implement the TCP/IP protocol suite, which became part of the internet’s technical foundation. Following the success of MUD1 and other MUDs, commercial games followed in the 1980s, with the likes of 1984’s Kesami, which was the very first commercial online RPG, and the 1987 flight simulator game Air Warrior.

The Launch of Early Internet Games

When the internet became available to the world in the early 1990s, it was only natural that online games would also become rapidly available. Many notable titles were available to play online in the early days of the world wide web, all of which played their parts in the evolution of online gaming. Notable games include 1996’s Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds, 1998’s Starcraft, and 1999’s EverQuest.

The Emergence of Online Casinos

When the internet became widely available in the 1990s, it led to an explosion of online video games. During the same decade, online casino games made their first appearances. Today, you can of course find lots of web-based gambling platforms, such as the excellent Dunder online casino where you can play a variety of table and slot games. But online casinos would not exist today if it were not for Antigua and Barbuda implementing the Free Trade and Processing Act in 1994, which allowed online casino licenses to be granted for the first time. In the same year, the very first online casino was launched, called The Gaming Club, which was created by Microgaming. But the first online casino in which real money could be used was launched in 1996 by InterCasino.

The Creation of New Online Game Genres

With the costs dropping and the speed improving, the internet became much more widely available to everyone in the early 2000s. That led to the creation of brand-new game genres, most notably: massively multiplayer online games. MMOs like 2004’s World of Warcraft revolutionized the way people played games. Indeed, the MMO community has also developed into its own subculture that uses its own metaphors, slang, and social rules. The multiplayer online battle arena genre also came onto the gaming scene during the early 2000s, with games like Defense of the Ancients.

The Introduction of Smartphones

Games like Tetris and Snake were available on phones during the 1990s, but with the introduction of smartphones in the 2010s, people could play online games on their phones for the first time. One of the most defining moments in the evolution of online gaming came in the form of Candy Crush. The 2012 mobile game changed the way people play games forever. Now, people play online games on smartphones just as much as they do on other devices.

The Emergence of New Genres and Technologies

During the latter half of the 2010s, battle royale emerged as one of the newest and most popular online game formats. Games like Battlegrounds and Fortnite Battle Royale, which were both launched in 2017, continued to push genres into new evolutionary forms. And with technology continually evolving as well, such as with artificial intelligence and virtual reality, one thing is for sure: the evolution of online games is still in its infancy.