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Massively multiplayer online games were made possible with the growth of broadband Internet access in many developed countries, using the Internet to allow hundreds of thousands of players to play the same game together.
With the original Xbox Microsoft launched Xbox Live, allowing shared play over the internet.
The kind of games that are played at the more popular competitions are Counter-Strike, Halo, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Quake Live and Unreal Tournament.
Competitions have a range of winnings from money to hardware.
Many online games create their own online communities, while other games, especially social games, integrate the players' existing real-life communities.
It has been argued that, since the players of an online game are strangers to each other and have limited communication, the individual player's experience in an online game is not essentially different from playing with artificial intelligence players.
Although a worldwide number of male gamers still dominates over female (52% by 48%); women accounted for more than half of the players of certain games.