http://www.boardgamegeek.com With the ever-changing technology that is the Internet, it’s no surprise how much it affects everything in our lives. This blog is just as much proof of that as anything; I can reach other board game enthusiasts from around the world in the comfort of my own home. As Bill Gates once said, “The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” So with this evolving landscape that the whole world is shaping, it’s no surprise that it is a force that influences the board game industry as well. What is surprising is that rather than diminishing the value of the board game, the Internet has actually helped improve the board game industry.
It seems sort of contradictory in a way; after all, board games are considered outdated by many people, so how has technology revitalized something so archaic? There are four major factors revolving around Internet usage that have helped the board game industry improve over the years: online purchasing, media and communication, online gameplay, and greater access to funding.
Online purchasing- the most obvious of the advantages of the Internet, being able to purchase a game online is making it exponentially easier to find all types of board games. Board game shops are becoming less common, and superstores such as Target and Wal-Mart have a limited supply of tabletop games in stock. In contrast, there are hundreds of online board game stores out there and ready to be used. Whether you buy online directly through a manufacturer, through a third party, or off of a secondhand/used game site, the ability to buy games online provides easy access to a desired commodity.
Media and Communication- Whether it’s through blogs, articles, or social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, online communication helps spread awareness of board games and allows for easier access to reviews and opinions about specific games. The best example of this is the website www.boardgamegeek.com which has data on thousands of different games and includes a forum to ask questions to other board game lovers. Unlike TV where it is a one-sided conversation, the Internet gives game publishers a chance to advertise games and also allows customers to enjoy an open dialogue.
Online Gameplay- As I said before, board games can be considered archaic at times in comparison to video games or other types of games. So what’s a good way to make boar games more modern? Put them online to play! You can find games like Uno, Monopoly, Scrabble, and Risk online through various means. Flash games on Facebook also are a part of the craze, with games like Words With Friends and Trivia Crack channeling aspects of the popular board games on the market into an online equivalent to a board game.
Greater Access to Funding- Let’s say you have an amazing idea for a board game, but can’t get a publisher to fund the game and don’t have enough money to start it yourself. What do you do? In the past you would have to take out a loan and risk your financial future for the chance of the game taking off. But now there’s a better way, and that way is the Internet. Advertising for funding from strangers may seem like an unlikely prospect, but it has started to take off in a way nobody would expect. www.kickstarter.com is the premier site for funding these kinds of projects, and there is an entire section of the site dedicated to tabletop gaming. Some notable board games funded by Kickstarter campaigns include Exploding Kittens, Scythe, and Zombicide: Black Plague. The fact that you can work for your game to be funded by people on the Internet is a huge boost to game designers all over the world.
The Internet took the world by storm, so sometimes it’s difficult to remember how new it really is. Board games have been around forever and the Internet is still just beginning. The fact that board games have not simply faded into the shadows, but rather took advantage of the new technology, says a lot about the industry and what it is working towards. If we’re lucky, board games will continue to grow and evolve while still keeping the aspects that we all love about them intact.