It's no secret that online games are popular. In fact, there are literally thousands of different games available, many of which can be played for free, and also many of which have very small learning curves which allows you to learn the rules and begin playing very quickly.
Some new computers come bundled with free online games, and there are dozens (if not hundreds) of sites online full of online games as well. Both of these are evidence of a large demand for online games; after all, people are not going to spend time programming and uploading games if no one is playing them.
But why are they so popular? Let's have a look:
Fast – Online games are fast. Most of them do not require any significant time or emotional involvement. In fact, some games can be played very, very quickly; often in less than a minute! For example, some of the "how far can you hit a ball?" type of games are like this. In this type of game, the player controls a bat and "swings" by clicking the mouse. A ball will be thrown and you click the mouse when you want to swing and then see how far you hit the ball. The entire thing is over in a few seconds, and the purpose of the game is to see how high of a score you can get. Because of this lacking-a-time-commitment feature, online games are very convenient to play when you just need to pass some time, which leads into the next point:
Pass the time – The nature of the best online games makes them such that it is easy to get cooked up in them despite their relatively simple designs. Got 5 minutes to kill on the train? Pull our cell phone and play an online game (or a mobile version that you downloaded). Have 10 minutes before a meeting at work? Open up your browser and play for a little while. Not only will it help pass the time, but it will help de-stress you a little, too. And let's be honest, we're probably not supposed to play online games at work, but who has not? You know even your boss does, because you've probably seen him when you came up from behind his cubicle to ask him a question!
Challenge / coordination – There were studies done in the 80s when Nintendo was popular that showed that playing video games helped improve hand-eye coordination, a skill which is transferable to many other areas of life. So in a way, playing online action games, or games that require reflexes and anticipation, is actually increasing the efficiency of your brain. Not to mention the challenge that companies many games helps add to the fun, and there's always a good feeling of accomplishment when you finally beat a point at which you were previously stuck.
Now that you know a bit more about online games, why do not you give yourself a little break and play one for 5 minutes!