In the mid-1980s, a company called Play Net began tinkering with the combination of real-time chat and online games.
Users could play chess or backgammon against an opponent and talk trash at the same time.
In the late 1990s, AOL's chat rooms were some of the most popular in the world.
According to statistics from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 55 percent of online teens and 28 percent of online adults used chat rooms in 2000 [source: Pew Internet & American Life Project].
The Microsoft Network Chat Control was developed as an Active X Component Object Model (COM) Object.