19-year-old Brazilian developer Matheus Valadares announced his game Agar.io on 4chan on April 27th 2015. Within weeks it had been picked up by free online games site Miniclip, as well as popular Twitch streamers and YouTubers. 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 genre was born. Despite not having any formal connection, the “.io” domain extension has become synonymous with an extremely popular segment of browser multiplayer games, characterised by simple graphics and player vs. player mechanics. (more…)