Main article: Online game
Online gaming has drastically increased the scope and size of gaming culture, although this has much to do with the usage of the Internet itself as a communication medium. Online gaming grew out of games on bulletin board systems and on college mainframes from the 1970s and 1980s. MUDs offered multiplayer competition and cooperation but on a scope more geographically limited than on the internet. The internet allowed gamers from all over the world - not just within one country or state - to play games together with ease.
One of the most groundbreaking titles in the history of online gaming is Quake, which offered the ability to play with sixteen, and eventually up to thirty-two players simultaneously in a 3D world. Gamers quickly began to establish their own organized groups, called clans. Clans established their own identities, their own marketing, their own form of internal organization, and even their own looks. Some clans had friendly or hostile rivalries, and there were often clans who were allied with other clans. Clan interaction took place on both professionally set competition events, and during normal casual playing where several members of one clan would play on a public server. Clans would often do their recruiting this way; by noticing the best players on a particular server, they would send invitations for that player to either try out or accept membership in the clan.
'Clan'- or 'guild'-based play has since become an accepted (and expected) aspect of multiplayer gaming, with several games offering cash-prize tournament-style competition to their players. Many clans and guilds also have active fan-bases, which, when combined with the 'tournament' aspect, contribute in turning clan-based gaming into a semi-professional sport.
Clans also allow players to assist each other in simulated combat and quests in game advancement, as well as providing an online family for friendly socialising.