We're in the middle of a pretty lousy recession. Unemployment's topped 10.5%, and everyone who isn't a Mac owner is spending less and less money on gadgets and electronic toys. Video games have suffered as well. When you've only got 50 bucks left for food this month, you're not going to spend it on a video game. Not unless you have a serious problem.
In this sort of climate, free online games are thriving. 87 million people played games online through websites in May alone, which is a 22% increase over last year. ComScore Inc. did an overview of the online gaming marketplace recently to see just what was driving it. They found increased usage all around, thanks to millions of people deciding to trade a night out on the town in for a night behind the flickering glow of an LCD monitor.
Many game sites, like Yahoo! Games and EA Online, have seen a substantial traffic increase as of late. Newcomer GSM Games even grew an astonishing 563%, thanks to a couple of wildly successful games. So do those of us who love conventional video games have anything to worry about?
Don't Miss: See the first leaked Black Friday 2016 Ad
Yes and no. Successful online games like World of Warcraft aren't going anywhere. But, at the same time, they represent the top rung of the market. As 'browser' games become cheaper to make, more in-depth, and better-looking they'll start to drive business away from big companies. Smart manufacturers will take notice, hire successful free-game dev teams, and we'll have a gaming renaissance on our hands. Or we'll all be playing Bejeweled. Either way sounds fun.