FIRST, SOME HISTORY
On April 27th 2015 19 year old Brazilian developer Matheus Valadares announced his game Agar.io
. Within weeks free online game sites as well as popular Twitch streamers and YouTubers picked up the game.In a May 2015 video with 8.2 million views, PewDiePie called it his “new favourite game,” and he subsequently covered it at least nine more times.
Agar.io quickly became so popular that a new genre was born. Despite not having any connection , the .io domain became synonymous with a segment of multiplayer browser games. These games were characterised by simple graphics, accessibility and multiplayer mechanics.
The next huge hit was Slither.io
, released in March 2016, which adds a Snake-like twist to the mechanics. Players are worms rather than cells, and must avoid touching other players head-on while collecting orbs to grow. Slither.io brought the same perfect storm of low-commitment, die-and-retry gameplay; eye-catching and customisable visuals; and attention from YouTubers and Twitch streamers, and became even bigger than its predecessor, with 68 million app downloads and 67 million plays in browser within three months.
Soon hundreds of similar games were released under the .io domain and genre. Some blurred the rules of what .io games were and expanded the genre.
WHAT IS AN IO GAME?
.IO games for the most part follow a similar mantra. They have simple game mechanics. The graphics are basic and easily rendered in a browser. They are multiplayer and played with a mouse in a browser. These key features allow the games to be easily consumed and played to a high level of satisfaction over the course of 5 - 10 minute period.
WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR IO GAMES?
Since Agar.io first came out the .io genre has expanded and blurred. Today some of the most popular .io games are Krunker
, and Surviv