Free Online Video Games

What do free online video games have to do with Doom, the 1993 first-person shooter game from ID Software? When Doom was first released it became an Internet legend and was highly anticipated by fans in newsgroups. (This was before public interest in the World Wide Web grew in 1994) Since before Doom's release, screen shots of the game, and even unauthorized free online video games downloads of Doom were being circulated online. The first free online video games of Doom were made available from an FTP run at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in late 1993. Doom was known as “shareware” not commercial software, and was allowed to be freely distributed to users who would eventually pay for full versions of the game.

Doom – The Most Successful Of Free Online Video Games

By 1995 Doom had been installed on some 10 million computers. Over one million full versions of the game were sold which was a record for 1995. The popularity of Doom enabled ID Software to release commercial versions of the game, including The Ultimate Doom, which was the latest 1.9 version along with an additional episode. Doom was so popular that it was actually influencing office productivity, as workers were playing the games around the clock and it was clogging computer networks with excessive traffic. At its peak, Doom even bested Windows 95, being installed on more computers worldwide than Bill Gates innovative new operating system. Bill Gates was impressed with Doom's success and led to Microsoft developing a Windows 95 as port of Doom to promote the system for gaming use.

Doom's Internet Success

Doom wasn't the first of the free online video games to be released, nor was it even the original first-person shooter game with an online “deathmatch” mode. However, it was the first game to allow a deathmatch contest over an Ethernet connection, as opposed to the networking of computers; it could also be played by users over a phone line. Possibly Doom's greatest claim to fame was the user's ability to customize levels in the form of WAD files. This helped Doom to become one of the most innovative free online video games in history.