What are .io games?

what are IO games

In the past decade, .io games have become popular as multiplayer browser gaming. When the evolution of games seemed focused on betting in consoles and complex gameplay, .io games proved that simple can be more. But what are io games and how did they change the gaming scene? Let’s find out!

What are .io games?

.io games are real-time online multiplayer browser games. The simplicity of their design and mechanics makes the genre approachable for everyone, from regulars to casual gamers. Easy access is also a central characteristic of .io games since they are usually free to play. However, just because they are quick to find and play, this does not mean that they are easy to master.

The domain .io, which immediately makes the game genre stand out from the rest, stands for the internet code of the British Indian Ocean territory. Interestingly, however, .io games are not related to this territory. 

The explanation is rather an anticlimax. The first .io game, Agar.io, carried (and still carries) this domain. Its success spawned a surge in multiplayer games with simple graphics and rules, which also chose to use the same domain as a way of conveying their similarities with Agar.io. With time and as the number of this type of game kept increasing, the .io code became naturally associated with them.

Who invented .io games?

Agar.io was the first .io game invented. It was developed by Matheus Valadares, a 19-year-old developer from Brazil, who announced it on 4chan in 2015. 

Agar.io is an online multiplayer game where you become a cell and must survive as long as possible by eating smaller cells. There are also bigger cells that you must avoid, or you will be the one who is eaten! The simple yet demanding task made the game really popular.

A month after the game’s release, famous YouTuber PewDiePie covered it in one of his videos. The video reached over 8 million views. This made the game worldwide popular, bringing light to the .io games genre. 

After the success of Agar.io, many .io games were quickly developed, and the genre's popularity has risen ever since.

Why are .io games so popular?

.io games became popular due to their simplicity and ease of access. The fact that there is no need to download the game to play it, and there is also no need to do tutorials to understand it, brought high popularity to the genre. .io games’ simple mechanics made them runnable on almost every device, which also made them accessible to a wider audience.

The multiplayer feature, present in every .io game, also promoted games as socializing tools. The wide variety of existing .io games also contributed to the genre’s success. From shooting games to explorative and custom gaming, all sorts of gamers can find a .io game that suits them. 

Livestreaming also had a role in increasing the popularity of this type of game. Since the YouTuber’s PewDiePie videos about Agar.io reached millions of views, several YouTubers and game live streamers have published much content on .io games, raising their popularity even higher.

Are the players in .io games real?

Not all players in .io games are real. The rapid spread of the genre made the multiplayer feature rather challenging to maintain. At first, when the .io games became popular, users populated the few existing playing choices. Nowadays, there are thousands of different games, and keeping them running with 100% real players would sentence them to failure.

The existence of fake players made the games survive since the real player did not need to wait for other real people to begin playing. Playability and timing are crucial for .io games. Fast and easy access remains the genre's big advantage, even if it has to count on bots to populate them.

What are the best .io games to play online with friends?

The best .io games to play with friends are those that allow you to enter the challenge at the same time and compete on the same map or those customizable and with a build-up score that lets you compare results and compete for better game features. Most .io games fit into one or both categories, which means that almost all of them are good to play with friends.

For example, in the game Paper.io 2, you and your friends can enter the map at the same time and battle for the largest territory. You can also build up your score to customize your avatar and make it easier for you and your friends to spot each other.

Another great .io game to have fun with your friends is Impostor.io, where you can battle each other to see who survives for the longest time! Owning stronger weapons and leveling up your character can raise the odds in your favor on the battlefield.

Worms Zone is also a great .io game to play online with your friends. The worm's dream is to become as big as an anaconda but watch out for other worms because they really like to eat and are known for their exquisite appetite. The good news is, the more you eat, the bigger you get! This fast-paced .io game, full of plot twists, guarantees lots of fun for you and your friends.


What are .io games in the end? They can be hard to describe but to put it simply, they are multiplayer browser games that you can play online, for free. The definition may seem too broad and general, but try a few .io games and soon enough you will understand why that is. 

There's a whole world of io games to discover, so what are you waiting for?

Dive into a pool of game knowledge

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