MMOs are one of the most popular genres out there in the world of gaming, but what does it mean? It stands for ‘massively multiplayer online’ and, in a nutshell, entails not just a few players all playing the same video game at once together, but thousands or even millions playing it. All across the world, people can be logging in and taking part in the action in the same game.

MMO is an umbrella term for the genre. This genre consists of sub-segments such as massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), massively multiplayer online first person shooters (MMOFPSs) and massively multiplayer online real-time strategy (MMORTSs) games.

MMOs function well as a type of network, bringing together gaming enthusiasts from across the world, who can then chat to each other before, during or after the gaming session.

The MMO market

MMO gaming is a booming market and looks set to grow even bigger. Earlier this year, the consumer and market data company Statista published on its website that the market had been expected to grow from 24.4 billion US dollars in 2014 to nearly 31 billion by 2017. The site also reported that the massive online battle arena games (MOBAs) like League of Legends sub-segment of the industry was the most popular type. Below are a couple of games you may or not have come across this year from the MMO world:

World of Warcraft

This MMORPG may be an oldie but is still an immense goodie in the eyes of the gaming community and is enjoying heaps of love in 2021. The game takes place in the same world as the Warcraft series and has witnessed several expansions. Best of all, “World of Warcraft” caters to many different tastes: you can work together with other players, you can go up directly against other players or you can just chill by yourself with activities such as fishing in the game.

EVE Online

This MMORPG is another game that’s still as popular as it was in its early days. It’s free, too. Players can choose the path of the ship and undertake a range of activities possible within the game, including war, politics, piracy, trading and exploration. All this across 7,000-star systems and there are opportunities to engage in player versus environment (PVE) and player versus player (PVP) battles.

Esports as a form of MMO

The MMO market isn’t the only market that has been experiencing some major growth. It is estimated that the global esports industry may grow to as much as 92.9 billion US dollars in 2023. That’s from its current value of 59 billion.

As well as online sports gaming coverage, online live gaming has been a part of this. Technological advances, the increasing digitization of the world and the greater trust of players in being able to play online have all contributed to the growth in the market.

Many players now prefer to play at an online casino because they consider that type of live venue gaming and some other forms of venue gaming as a kind of MMO. This isn’t completely unreasonable, as some live venue games shares similarities with MMO video games. For instance, card games can be played as live venue games in which it’s possible for lots of other players to all be playing the game at the same time. In fact, there are many examples of popular online live games where multiple players can play the game all at once.

The technology behind MMOs

The player may be able to just log in and get gaming, but while they’re doing that, the tech that makes the game work is doing a lot behind the scenes.

There are lots of different servers. Once the player has connected and logged in to access their account and see player stats or the progress they’ve made, the query manager serves as a data cache and buffer to provide level performance for the players.

The action takes place in the game server, which will have the most computing power. This server accesses permanent data from the static web server and real-time data (as in the activity of the game) from the dynamic web server to create the playing environment.

Perhaps most critical to the game is the database server. As well as holding several different servers and storing everything from the player’s data, health, progress and loot, the database server feeds the data to that will determine outcomes to the game server.

Then there’s the payment server. This allows customers to pay for access to the game and also for in-game services. A secondary firewall protects it.

What does the future hold for MMOs?

MMOs have an exciting future ahead of them. Games manufacturers are forever on a quest to improve the gaming experience for players and, thanks to advances in technology, the gaming industry is seeing games become more immersive with virtual reality, augmented reality and other technologies.

Meanwhile, the tech experts will be working at the back end to reduce lag time as much as possible. Lag time, if you’re not familiar with it, is the time between the input from the player on the control pad and the action being played out on the screen. The shorter this time, the better. A long lag time can cause frustration as it makes harder for the player to participate in the action of the game in real time.

MMOs are an exhilarating type of game that enable thousands of players to engage in the action simultaneously. While these games bring enthusiasts from all around the world together, complex tech operates behind the scenes to keep things going and provide players with a thrilling gaming experience.


  1. I’ve yet to see a successful MMO that utilizes VR technology. Maybe VRChat is the only exception, but it would be interesting to see if newer MMOs, especially MMORPGs, will take the VR approach.

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