The gaming world underwent many changes in 2016. We grew tired of Clash of Clans, said "Hello" and "Goodbye" to Pokémon GO, and completely forgot about Flappy Bird. Yes, Minecraft is more pervasive than ever. But more importantly, a new type of game rose to feverish popularity - .IO. Fast-paced, free, and boasting undeniably fun multiplayer action, .IO games are here to stay.
In the US during 2016, Agario and Slither.io were the most searched keywords related to video games. And there's a very good reason for that: .IO games are played without hassle. Previously, multiplayer games have required signups, logins, and other complicated tasks that take time. A fundamental aspect of the original .IO games is that they are easy to join. There's no sign-up process, no registration e-mail, and no download time. Open one of these .IO games on Poki, and you're in the action within seconds.
Slick and Quick
.IO games can be quite magical. The best ones have crystal-clear visuals, perfectly smooth gameplay, and limitless upgrade options. Even when hosting a chat-room with 100 players in the same arena, well-built .IO games don't lag. They're developed upon the foundation of years of other successful games. The most popular .IO games do everything right, from having simple controls to keeping players addicted with fun level-up challenges. When playing a good .IO game, time should pass quicker than ever.
Most .IO games are a free-for-all. In this gameplay style, competitors strive to survive the longest. The first wildly successful title, Agario, features eat-or-be-eaten action. In case you're unfamiliar, that equates to "kill or be killed." Many of Agario's successors are inspired by the same type of action. Slither.io, Wormax.io, and Splix.io challenge players to trap others. When you defeat another gamer, your character grows. Thus, you are more powerful and can climb the leaderboards faster than before.
Certain .IO titles showcase hectic shoot-'em-up action. Affectionately known as shmups, these games come in many different forms. Diep.io, Tankwars.io, and Tanx involve army vehicle warfare. Gunr.io, Wings.io, and the brand-new Skyarena.io send players into the skies and outer space for airborne battles. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Oceanar.io, Piranh.io, and Krew.io take place in war-torn seas.
The 2016 popularity contest award goes to .IO games. Quite interestingly, they don't appear to be a fad. New titles are released every day at portals like Poki games. More importantly, these new games aren't just clones of each other. There are so many different types of .IO action, from the frenetic shmups mentioned previously to the thoughtful puzzle gameplay found in Massivematch.io and Tiles.io.
As .IO collections grow, the multiplayer adventures within have expanded from browsers to mobile devices. Many of the titles discussed here are available on virtually any modern device, from PC and Mac laptops to Android and iOS phones. Cross-browser and cross-device compatibility means that anyone can compete with anyone at any time. Most excitingly, it looks like the biggest gaming trend of last year will continue in 2017.