I started playing RPG's online in 2002, mainly because I could not find any players locally who I wanted to game with. I eventually realized, it was not the local players who were the problem, the problem was that I wanted to game with my old group of friends. Unfortunately we had all spread out across the western half of the country over the years.
Once I discovered OpenRPG, I started sending out emails to the people I had gamed back in my home town. Most of them were not interested, but a few were and after a couple of months of putting things together, we got started playing and never really looked back. Next year will be the 20th anniversary of our gaming group. Frankly speaking, I don't think I could ever go back to in person gaming.
2020 of course saw playing RPG's online explode. COVID-19 forced groups online in almost desperate attempts to keep their games going. This was a huge change from just a few years earlier when many gamers would decry online gaming as bad gaming and everyone knows that no game is better than a bad game. That has all changed now and I
suspect that even after COVID-19 is a bad memory, many groups will
continue online, rather than begin meeting in person again.