A clan refers to a group of gamers who form a team to compete against others over the Internet in multiplayer games. Clans choose their team name and will usually set up an initiation process for interested gamers to join their clan via the Internet. Clans use Internet communications such as e-mail, instant messaging, IRC or Internet telephony to communicate and arrange their practices and matches. While a clan is usually focused on one specific multiplayer game, some clans do have divisions to support more than one game.
Clans first became popular in 1996 when id Software released its multiplayer game, Quake. For many years after the release of Quake, clans revolved around multiplayer PC shooter games. With the online multiplayer capabilities of newer consoles however, clans have sprung up for console games which can be played over the Internet as well.
In an MMORPG the team or group of gamers is called a guild, rather than a clan.