What does “.io” mean that is attached to the end of some video games titles and website titles?


What does “.io” mean that is attached to the end of some video games titles and website titles?

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10 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Some domains are related to countries. “domain.uk” is United Kingdom, and “domain.cn” is China, and “domain.tm” is Turkmenistan.

“io” stands for “Indian Ocean”, as in the “British Indian Ocean Territory”. Approximately 1000 islands south of India. Mostly inhabited by military people, and the natives were removed in the 60s and 70s. Not a nice place!

The rights to the “io” domain were bought by rich tech guys to make money in the 90s and they’ve made a lot of money from it. The name sounds kinda geeky because in tech we say IO to mean Input/Output.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The Internet has a big dictionary called DNS that keeps track of what computer goes with what name, like reddit.com or twitter.com or whatever. [1]

In the early days of the Internet, the last part of the name (the TLD [2]) could only be picked from a very limited number of choices, that were mostly three letters. Some of those original choices were:

– .com for the for-profit COMmercial sites
– .org for charitable ORGanizations
– .edu for EDUcational institutions like schools and universities
– .gov for parts of the GOVernment

The “.com” really captured the public’s imagination when ordinary people started getting access to the Internet. When someone talked about “pets DOT COM” the “dot COM” part tells you that it’s a website on the Internet. So to this day, most businesses prefer their websites to end in dot com.

But over the years they expanded the system with more TLD’s. Every country would have a two-letter TLD: France would get .fr, Russia would get .ru, America would have .us, Japan would have .jp, and so on.

– If you want a .com site it’s expensive
– The really good .com names are already taken
– Every country in the world gets its own two-letter TLD.
– Each country sets its own rules for what sites can get that country’s two-letter TLD.

Most countries say your site has to be based in, or somehow related to that country, to use the country TLD (e.g. if you don’t live in Japan you might be unable to get a .jp site).

But not all countries do that! Small countries like [Tuvalu](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuvalu) (population: 10,000) or the [British Indian Ocean Territory](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Indian_Ocean_Territory) (population: 3,000) have country codes that are catchy branding in English, and they encourage foreigners to register domains. If you’re making an online video site, you can call it something dot tv (TV, television, people will know it’s a video site). Or if you’re a computer nerd, you can call it something dot io (as in computer IO, input/output).

So that’s where IO sites come from:

– The site owner is a trendy hipster who thinks “.io” is good branding (originally due to being the term for the computer related concept of input/output, but now just because a bunch of other sites are also io).
– They were able to get a desired site name cheaply and easily by avoiding “.com”.
– .io is used in games because some people name their game after the website. (Branding! You don’t need to buy / download / install the game, you can just open a website and play! What website? The name of the game itself tells you the website!)
– This is all possible because the tiny British Indian Ocean Territory controls the “.io” country code and lets anyone make a site with a .io name (in exchange for a small annual fee) even if they and their website have absolutely nothing to do with the British Indian Ocean Territory.

[1] Actually it’s multiple dictionaries. And some of the dictionaries refer to other dictionaries. It’s a core part of the Internet with a complex technical and bureaucratic history.

[2] TLD stands for Top Level Domain. Because to find out what computer coresponds to a name, you go through the dotted parts from right to left. “Hey where can I look up a .com site? You want Bob, he knows all the .com sites. Hey Bob, where can I look up reddit.com? You want Joe, he works for Reddit and knows all the reddit.com sites. Hey Joe, where can I look up www.reddit.com? Ah it’s computer number you want.” That way, by reprogramming Joe (who is a computer), Reddit can make its own sites — like old.reddit.com for ye olden Reddit that doth not suck, or mail.reddit.com for handling the email of Reddit employees, or whatever.

Anonymous 0 Comments

In theory it means “British Indian Ocean Territory” in practice it is just another generic top level domain targeted at coders and programmers who think using it as a abbreviation for Input/Output is cool. Games hosted on a server with that domain ended up incorporating that part into the name of the game.

To expand on that:

On the internet you have two different type of domain endings: things like “.com”, “.org”, “.net” etc and country specific ones like “.fr”, “.de”, “.uk” etc.

When the second type was created they gave out country specific ones for every place that was at least sort of a country. This included a bunch of territories that were actually part of another country like “.vi” for the US Virgin Islands.

Some countries and territories ended up with cool sounding domain endings like Tuvalu got “.tv”. They decided to make some money of that and instead of just using it for people and organizations in the country they decided to let everyone register one who wanted a a domain ending in “.tv” for money. (The earnings from renting out their internet name actually make up a not competently insignificant fraction of their gdp.)

The British Indian Ocean Territory got “.io”. Due to ethnic cleansing and other various crimes against humanity these islands don’t have any actual permanent population anymore and are just used by US and UK military personal and contractors.

So there was no need for a “.io” domain ending to be used by anyone who lived there.

Arguably one could say that the domain belongs to the people who used to live on those islands and were forcibly expelled from their homes, but the same could be said about the islands themselves.

In any case the control of “.io” ended up with some rich guy who marketed it and protected the money himself.

It was used by a bunch of coding projects and organization who thought the I/O thing fit with what they wanted to do with their domain.

A few years back one of those projects created a very successful web based game called “Agar.io”.

This spawned a bunch of other games who wanted to imitated the success of that one who also used “.io” domains for their websites.

The “.io” often became part of the name of the game even when it was not distributed over a domain at all but downloaded from an app-store. It had become part of the brand of these types of games.

It is a nice cute quirk if you ignore the plight of the Chagossians who were driven out of their homes and are not seeing any profits from renting out the name of their stolen lands like this.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Chaghos islands, better known as British Indian Ocean Territory have good fortune of having their own internet top level domain, .io for Indian Ocean. There is no permanent population because Brits forcibly depopulated the islands back in 60ies and 70ies. So basically the tld is unused for it’s intended purpose.

I/O stands for input/output and is a very generic technical term suitable for many uses, so .io has been marketed as a generic tld that stands out from typical .com and .org and that has been popular.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Other commentors already explained the issue with the country domains being sold privately for profit. That doesn’t answer your question though.

IO means input/output. The symbols are also being used as on/off buttons. It points out to something being digital or technological.

For some people it even represents something that’s new or from the future.

It can also mean artifical intelligence or something that’s utilizing artificial intelligence. It’s also sometimes used as a sound robots make in pop culture.

And finally its used by some of the most intelligent and charismatic redditors as a username because it sounds good, minimalistic and is easy to remember.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It means they have more money to waste than on a .com domain name. Seriously those .io fees are a couple times as much.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Everyone talking about domains isn’t wrong but I don’t think it’s relevant to video games. See the popular mobile games snake.io or paper.io

Anonymous 0 Comments

Other comments have already answered what .io means and on why it’s used in games I always assumed it was to follow in the steps of agar.io when it became super popular and a lot of .Io games started popping up

Anonymous 0 Comments

Nothing – it’s a trick to get you to associate it with once popular browser-based multiplayer games like agar.io or slither.io. It lives on because it works and the association becomes more and more distant.

Anonymous 0 Comments

If you are specifically wondering about video games, .io trend started with agar.io and slither.io.

At the time when they first popped up, they were very simple games built using node.js and socket.io, the latter being the most important for naming purposes.

Socket.io is a tool you use in website building to allow multiplayer interactions. Very simply it is a tool where a user can broadcast some information (a chat message, or a player position) and all connected clients will receive it live. Using this, you can move a ball on your screen, and everyone else connected will see your ball moving, which is what agar.io started as.

Since the tool was called socket.IO, the games were named using the same naming convention. So to settle the pronunciation, you would call it Agar IO, or Slither IO.