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The pace of change within the online gaming world means that it often feels like everything in this sector is new and exciting. And while it’s certainly the case that everything from gameplay to graphics is experiencing rapid change, it’s also true that online gaming has a history stretching back decades. From big firms like Microsoft to specialist companies like Zynga, there are all sorts of players on the online gaming scene. This article will take a look back at some of the older firms on this timeline and look at just what makes them so iconic. 

Bally Gaming

As readers of know, Bally Gaming is one of the oldest gaming firms out there. In fact, it has almost a century of experience in the sector; it came into existence with a pinball machine made out of wood. These days, however, its product offering is somewhat more sophisticated. 

It is known in the online gaming sector for its high-end virtual casino software packages and products, including a range of products made with the ALPHA 2 operating system. Notably, it also created a world first for the virtual casino sector in the form of a curved display system. In terms of specific games, it licenses a wide range of famous names to create fun themed games for players to enjoy, including both Playboy and Wonder Woman. Bally Gaming has come a long way from that pinball machine back in the early 20th century. 


When most people think of Microsoft, the first thing that jumps to mind is the sort of productivity software found in the “Office” collection. While Microsoft did indeed bring programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint to laptops and desktops around the world, it was also responsible for bringing some of the best names in online gaming too. Through its Microsoft Studios division, one of the most popular games that Microsoft is in part responsible for is Minecraft, which sees players build their own environments with raw materials. Thanks to Microsoft, it can now be played online on a variety of platforms. 

Microsoft also played a key role in developing the framework in which online gaming now exists. It owns Xbox Live, which is a multiplayer gaming service delivered entirely online. Given that Microsoft was first founded in 1975, this capacity to adapt and change is one that has stood it in good stead when it comes to capturing the online gamer market. 


Unless you’re a gaming nerd, you may well not have heard of Niantic. However, you’ll almost certainly have heard of one of its most famous games, Pokemon GO. Released in 2016, Pokemon GO revolutionized the augmented reality market. The game, which works by having players find Pokemon characters that are hidden in real-world locations through screen mediation, was also praised by many for encouraging gamers to get out and explore their communities rather than remain inside to game. 

While Pokemon GO is a relatively modern iteration, Niantic itself is far from recent. It came into business in 2010, suggesting that — like Microsoft — it has shown a real capacity to reinvent itself and keep ahead of the trends without ever going stale. 


It may seem hard to believe, but the world of social media is already starting to get old. The firm Zynga was responsible for developing the first household name in social media gaming, Farmville. While to many that may seem like yesterday, Zynga was actually first set up in 2007 — making it older than Instagram, Pinterest and many other well-known names. 

It has, however, put its unexpected years of experience to good use. In recent years, it has burst back onto the scene with the game Words with Friends. While Words with Friends is perhaps a more taxing mental workout than Farmville, it is in many ways just as addictive — leaving Zynga up there as one of the most in-tune online game providers out there. 

Online gaming may seem to be the sort of hyper-competitive industry in which everything is changing all the time and in which the modern and the cutting edge are always prioritized, but some online game firms are actually older than many of their players. As is the case with firms such as Niantic, Zynga and more, online gaming companies with experience are often the best at adapting and changing.