Why Do Games Use IO in Their Title?
With more and more applications and sites being developed for the web today, people are running out of domain names to use. The TLD or Top Level Domain is still the foremost method to catalog each and every address that exists in the World Wide Web. Domain names like .com, .net, .org, and .co as well as the other popular ones have almost been all used up. An alternative would be specific country codes like.my, .ph, and .uk (Malaysia, Philippines, and United Kingdom). Each country has its own and the drawback as these are web country codes is that they may cost a little bit more.
Actually, it took some time to notice but somebody eventually did. The domain name .io could be used as a practical and effective alternative to the domain shortage being experienced today. Surprisingly, .io is a country code and really has nothing to do with input/output, the binary 1 and 0, the moon of Jupiter, or the movie TRON. The people who associate their sites with this country code mainly do it for practical reasons and the other connotations of io come in as an added bonus.
The domain .io belongs to a group of islands located in the Indian Ocean between Tanzania and Indonesia. Known as the British Indian Ocean Territory or B.I.O.T., this group of tiny Islands practically in the middle of nowhere is being used by both the UK and US as a joint military base of operations. The territory is a tactical launching point for Western forces and devoid of any native residents aside from military personnel and contractual civilians.
The story of the Islands and it’s former inhabitants is a grim tale which we will leave to the reader for further research should one be really curious and interested about the behind the scenes origins of the .io domain, but to simplify things, the indigenous population of B.I.O.T. where called the Chagossians and they where forcibly removed from their islands by the British Empire during the late 1960’s for the purpose of said military use.
Since the territory was assigned a domain and it was not being used for a military base of operations will likely have no reason to put up a website and advertise their location and top secret secrets to the WWW for all to see, .io was left in the shadows. Eventually, it was noticed by of all companies Levi Strauss & Co (Levi’s Jeans) and they registered the first .io domain Levi’s website in 1998.
From that point on, companies, tech sites and other concerns followed suit. The domain was basically free since at the start the UK.gov couldn’t effectively charge for it as it legally belonged to the Chagossians who where nowhere on the islands because they forced them out. Nowadays however, the domain already has a price since the UK and the Chagossians akready have a sharing arrangement for it. Despite this, the .io domain remains one of if not the cheapest available domains in the market today.
Agar.io was first released on the internet in April 2015. Matheus Valadares couldn’t find a suitable domain for his new game app and he wanted to name it after Agar, the substance used to culture bacteria because that was basically what his game (in a way) was all about. He ended up using the .io domain and thus his web game became agar.io, which sounded really cool and the rest was web-based indie gaming history.
Agar.io was simple and straightforward to play as players (both casual and hard-core) where attracted to the game. Besides, it was easy to join and a lot of others were playing it.
Just like peas to a pond, bees to a bunch of flowers, boys to pretty girls, the Indies fell in love with the .io (it was from the Indies after all). Following the agar.io trail, Slither.io was released in March of the following year. Expanding on the idea of Valadares, Slithers developer Steve Howse pumped up the graphics and used the concept of the old snake-bite game where you as a snake must evade bumping your head on the body of other snakes as you gobble up energy balls (or apples or food) and maneuver other snakes to bump into you and go kaboom! The game eventually surpassed agar.io causing a frenzy as other developers scrambled for a piece of the delicious .io pie.
Game after web game was released with the .io extension and surprisingly most of the games had a lot of things in common in terms of playability and functionality that the .io game genre ended up being established. To date, more and more .io games are coming out and it looks like the trend will be around for some time until the market finally tapers-off or when .io finally runs out.
So, there you have it. The mystery behind the .io found on new web game titles. And when you find new territory or island to claim, be sure to give it a nice name, because you never know, how far it will go, when you sell off your domain name.