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For a few years it seemed that the booming online gaming industry heralded an exciting new future for an endless series of indie developers who were able to easily access the global marketplace and create some surprising gaming hits whether they be simple puzzle games or advanced casino simulations.


But recently it seems that the big tech players are finally coming around to the huge revenues that can be earned in the online gaming realm, and 2016 has already shown some fascinating developments that suggest that the marketplace is going to be getting a lot more competitive.


For a long time the Japanese heavyweight gaming company Nintendo seemed strangely apathetic to online gaming, preferring to focus efforts on their own 3DS handheld device. But 2016 has seen the brand finally coming around to the mobile gaming future with interesting games released for other platforms such as the social game Miitomo.


And this summer sees Nintendo getting really serious about mobile gaming thanks to their involvement in the Pokemon Go phenomenon. The brand have had a long history in building the Pokemon craze over the past 20 years, but by teaming up with the US augmented reality firm Niantic, it seems that Nintendo have really shaken up the online gaming realm with some incredible sales figures just days after release.


A key part of how this success story has happened has been the way that the project was launched to cater for a growing trend of adult gamers who are seeking online entertainment a world away from the traditional first-person shooter.


There’s been a massive trend for complex strategy games such as Plague Inc which has already sold over two million copies for iOS devices, and with brands like Mr Smith Casino offering mobile slots games with the same benefits as their real-life gaming counterparts but with added convenience, it seems that it’s gaming’s interaction with the physical environment that holds the biggest potential for the next wave of online games.


Further proof of this can be seen in the endless success of Minecraft that’s already sold over 30 million copies thanks to the way that it allows users an open-ended way to create new digital worlds alone or collaboratively.


And despite being apparently created on a coffee break by an independent Swedish developer, Minecraft has already been snapped up by Microsoft in a way that signals that our established tech firms are becoming seriously keen to take advantage of the booming online gaming scene.