In the past couple of years, video games have improved drastically. Graphics, game play, sound, and pure fun factor have brought games along for the past couple of years, and technology has allowed them to flourish. We have seen games like Medal Gear Solid, Golden Eye 007, Crazy Taxi, all games that have really stood out from the rest on their home consoles. Most games these days, however, seem like the same games of yesterday, with improved graphics. What is left for games? Where can games be improved the most? Well, I will tell you my friend, console games are dialing up and logging on� that’s right… the future of video games is the Internet.

Sega has already brought console games online with much success. Games like Phantasy Star Online, Quake 3 Arena, and NFL2k1 have thousands of people logging on to play them each day. Sony is planning to fully support network gaming with games like Final Fantasy XI. Xbox already has games announced for the Internet as well, such as Halo. Gamecube is planning to be shipped with broadband connector in the box. All of these companies, some new to the gaming world and some veterans, will be bringing games online.

I am currently a big fan of Sega’s little Dreamcast console for the pure reason of its online play. I love signing on to the world of Phantasy Star Online to play with my level 71 hunter, signing on to Seganet to “school” some poor fool in NFL2k1 who can’t seem to get the ball past his own 20, and fragging a little on Quake, death-match style. Sure these games are fun by yourself, but challenge and fun factor can quickly fade away. However, when you play these games online, you are not competing against a computer who falls for the same juke every time, as people learn and adjust to your style, adding a new level of challenge and a new future for gaming.

So far, I must admit, I am extremely disappointed with the Playstation 2. Sure there are some fun games but nothing revolutionary. Some games are just a complete waste of time. While some people won’t agree, I would rather play Chu Chu Rocket online than Unreal Tournament offline. The whole reason the game was designed was to bring people together online to frag each other for countless hours with friends, enemies, and perfect strangers. In my opinion, even though Sony is kicking Sega’s butt in market share, Sega, has the better console for the sole reason of its online capabilities.

Xbox is looking to be a great console in terms of online capabilities and potential. Our rich little friends over in Redmond are doing everything they can to jump into the console business with a big bang. Halo, one of the featured Xbox titles, will no doubt be an amazing game, especially online. With the plans to include early broadband support and follow it up with many online games has me drooling already. I just hope it will live up to the expectations.

Gamecube sounds like a good console. It is supposedly going to release with a very competitive price and built in broadband adapter. I think it is a little to early to tell what Nintendo’s latest will do but I think it is defiantly one to watch in the coming years with its announced online capability.

As this editorial comes to a conclusion. I want you to think about what games will look like 5 years down the line� I am willing to bet my video game collection of over 200 games that over 50% of the games released in the future will have at least some portion online. Video games are becoming more and more fun, and the way I see with the way the industry is going, things are only going to get better. See you online.

By Ryan Schaefer – 01/09/02

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