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A Chronological History Of Cloud Gaming Down Through The Ages

A Chronological History of Cloud Gaming Down Through the Ages

Cloud video games, also known in this capacity as online games or MMOs (massively multiplayer online) have been steadily progressing in power and appeal since they first arrived in the 1970s. What was once solely a text-based experience, has grown into one sporting untold virtual worlds in many different genres.

Have you ever wondered where the incredible cloud games we play today began? Let’s take a look at their history, which will actually go back much farther than most people might think.


Cloud gaming actually predates the modern incarnation of the internet. One of the first types of cloud games were called MUDs, which stands for multi-user dungeons. MUD1, the very first MUD to be created, was launched in 1979 and is the oldest virtual world still in existence. Gameplay was extremely basic and consisted solely of typed commands in a text-based environment.

Ultima Online

The next truly groundbreaking incarnation of cloud games came in 1997, with the launch of Ultima Online. What set this game apart from other cloud games is that it was the first to offer graphics in tandem with a cloud gaming experience. Ultima Online is credited as being one of the most influential games to set the tone for modern cloud gaming.


Jumping two short years into the future would bring you to Everquest, the cloud game credited as being the primary drive in the expansion of cloud gaming and MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role play games) to the mainstream West. It sported something unheard of at the time, 3D graphics, and went on to spawn over 20 different expansions over the years.

World of Warcraft

Anyone with any interest in cloud gaming whatsoever, and even those who do not, has most likely heard of one of the cloud games synonymous with current online gaming: World of Warcraft. Credited as being the most successful cloud game in history, with sales in excess of $10 billion, World of Warcraft also holds the Guinness Book of World Records’ top-selling game spot of all time.

Eve Online

Eve Online sets itself apart by being the most successful space-based cloud game, as well as one of the first with a fully player-driven economy. Eve Online is considered by many avid players as “part game, part soap opera and part shadow economy.” This has led to an entire virtual existence inside the Eve universe and sports over 5 million registered users.


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The Future?

Tons of new cloud games are released each year, most of which fail to make any significant impact. Several factors need to be met in order to even hope to make a mark in this over-saturated market, ranging from using the free-to-play model to creating an in-depth user economy. Several games do have the potential to be big names this year in cloud gaming; however, only time will tell which of them are truly up to snuff.

Do you have a particular game that you feel has influenced the modern world of cloud-based gaming? Let us know in the Comments section below!

By Joe Pellicone

About Joe Pellicone

In 2011, Joe launched his writing career, dealing primarily with the tech topics he is so familiar with (Tech & Gaming). Today, Joe uses his experience and talent to create quality and enjoyable pieces on everything from gaming hardware and software, to individual games and gaming companies.

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