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European Commission
EduMedia 2008
What is online gaming?
An online game is defined as a digital game that needs a live network connection in order to be played. This includes not only games played on the Internet, but also those played online through consoles, across mobile phones or via peer-to-peer networks.

The launch of Microsoft’s Xbox Live gave a push for console game providers to develop online elements. Xbox 360 enables players not only to play against each other but also to communicate by voice through a headset. PlayStation 2 and the latest handheld consoles (Nintendo’s DS and Sony’s PSP) allow multiplayer gaming via a WiFi connection and the new generation of consoles, such as Sony’s Playstation3 and Nintendo’s Wii, offer full online gameplay capabilities via the Internet.

A mobile game is a video game played on a mobile phone, smartphone, PDA (personal digital assistant) or handheld computer. Mobile games can be played using the communications technologies present in the device itself such as text messaging (SMS). However, games that are downloaded to mobile phones via the mobile operator’s radio network are more common and these are then played using a set of gaming technologies in the device itself. Peer-to-peer networks rely on bandwidth and computers instead of servers to enable multiplayer gaming.

Games that do not require an active network connection for gameplay but only use the Internet to post high scores, download game elements or exchange data, are excluded from this definition.