Once regarded as ‘technical maverick‘, video games have been at the forefront of computer entertainment since the beginning. It was only 50 years ago that digital gaming was only found only in a few laboratories and it came a long way since then to have the popularity it does now.
Definitely, since its inception, the gaming realm has gone through multiple eras and evolution to suit and cater to everyone’s likes and preferences.
With the development of high-speed processors, super high definition graphics, and present-day mobile technology, the enticement, and adventure of playing games has only increased, with more realistic visuals, creativity, design, and satisfaction.
Today, video games make up a $100 billion global industry and have blossomed into one of the world’s most successful entertainment industries, with nearly two-thirds of American homes have household members who play video games regularly. And it’sits not surprising: Video games have been around for more than half a century and comprise various platforms, from arcade systems to home consoles, to handheld consoles and mobile devices.
Currently, 43 percent of games are happily enjoyed on mobile with 31 percent of gamers employing an at-home console, while 23 percent use a PC. More importantly, 71 percent of adults now believe that video games positively influence their children’s lives, which is stark different from the 1990s when parents consistently banned their children from games like Mortal Kombat and Doom because of the debate regarding game violence and its effects on children reached its peak.
It’s not children, and teenagers than partake in gaming, with the average age of American game players are 31 years old. It’also sits not just “Boys,” as 48 percent of all American gamers are women, the ESA reports.
An overview of the Timeline
The First Game
William Higinbotham invented the first real video game. In the 1950s, he created “Tennis for two.” This was his way to showcase the power of technology and developed it as a fun diversion. Like many in the past, he didn’t fully apprehend this significance into the future of video gaming.
”Spacewar” a game curated with the help of Steve Russell in 1962 at the University of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This was a simple yet addicting two-player game, where both the players compete in a dogfight, each controlling either the ”wedge” or the ”needle.” The game was famous as its features included gravity effects coupled with faster than light travels.
Well, clearly, this does not look or sound like a current-generation game.
The Golden Era of Arcade
The late 1970s and early 1980s experienced a massive boom in popularity of Arcade Games, bringing in rigorous commercial success. The sudden decision to release Space Invaders in 1978 clocked new inception for games.
With innumerous players lining and waiting around for their chance in Arcades, this led arcade to garner success, and some serious business was happening. It wasn’t lasting with millions in their bucket until a new follower came and uproot Space Invaders and was the new contender in the Arcade race.
All Hail to Pac-Man!
The Crisis of the gaming industry and the Rise of PC Gaming
As reforming as those arcade games were, the gaming industry was facing a crisis: a massive number of new companies and consoles started to pop up, resulting in a period of market saturation. From 1983 to 1985, the absolute amount of gaming choices appears to be trampling the once-famous arcade games, which experienced over 1500 closures, not to mention severely agonizing economic setbacks.
Too many gaming consoles, and not many new engaging games to play on them, ultimately led to the North American video games crash in 1983, which incurred huge losses.
Was the impressive reign of video games soon going to be over? It sure seemed like it.
Indeed, the gaming realm was in desperate need of a change.
Also, this was the time that computers began to rise in popularity. These computers had much more powerful processors than the consoles, which opened the door to a new level of gaming, with more complexes and less linear games. With the arrival of private computers, several popular games made a surprising appearance on these new machines.
Early computers like the Macintosh, and a few consoles like the Atari ST, let the users link their said devices with other players as early as the late 1980s. In 1987, MidiMaze made an appearance on the Atari ST and added a function by which up to 16 consoles could connect one computer. (Source: TechCrunch).
The video game home business started to improve in late 1985, and during the NES Nintendo Entertainment System called Famicom in Japan, it came to the USA. What’s More, the NES had elevated some features like 8-bit graphics, colors, and tone quality, and gameplay over preceding consoles.
Also, Nintendo, a Japanese based company that began as a playing card manufacturer in 1889, published a diversity of iconic game franchises, like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid.
The Console War
In 1989, Sega unveiled its 16-bit Genesis console in North America as a follower to its 1986 Sega Master System, which didn’t sufficiently compete against the NES.
With its technological supremacy to the NES Games coupled with smart marketing, Sonic the Hedgehog game was soon going to hit the market in 1991. The Genesis made a tremendous promotion versus its prior rivals This was the same time when Nintendo published its own 16-bit Super NES console in North America, wreaking havoc and declaring a real “Console War.”
This was when both the companies were trying their best to outrun each other and declare themselves the true masters of console gaming.
Shortly, Nintendo took the lead and dominated the gaming market, and they still do. Nintendo’s SNES is still by far the most iconic game ever to release in history. The SNES’s employment of cartridges aced the ante with graphical skills, game framework, and audio. Indeed, it had been the bridge between the old world of video games and the modern era.
The early- to mid-1990s saw the discharge of a wealth of popular games on both consoles, including new franchises like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat, a combating game that shows blood and gore Genesis version of the game.
In response to the violent game, Sega created the Video game Rating Council in 1993 to implement descriptive labeling for each game sold on a Sega home console.
The council later curated the industry-wide Entertainment Software Rating Board. They are still used today to measure video games based on content.
On the other hand, in 1994, Sony had created the first major disc-based consoles, the PlayStation. The PlayStation launched games like Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy VIII, and Silent Hill. These titles included full, dramatic cut-scenes, frequently adding recorded dialogue.
The Surge in the 3D Gaming Era
With an ascend in the overall computer technology, the 5th generation video games made an appearance into the 3D Gaming Era.
The following two releases from Sony and Nintendo had transformed how we perceive games and are still under the charms of the unique design fuelled with distinct features.
The variability and graphical powerhouse the consoles were at the time made a surprising impression on gaming.
About Mario 64
This was not the end of Nintendo’s reign as in 1996, they surprised their fan with the Nintendo 64. All the popular characters of Nintendo’s Special character were now present in 3D. Now, who can forget Mario 64, Yes the game you and I spent hours saving the Princes? Those living under the rock
Mario 64 is a game where a character called Mario must overcome all the hurdles and reach Princess Peach’s castle to save the princess. This game was the biggest highlight of Nintendo’s, with millions of fans still talking about the game.
Just the same way, Donkey Kong 64 and the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time made a reappearance as new 3D titles, bringing back all the marvelous characters to share the modern gaming scene.
PlayStation, the Nintendo 64, and the Sega Saturn
Though Sega and Nintendo were at zenith as they each unveiled their fair proportion of top-notch, on-brand 3D titles, the traditional video game companies couldn’t compete with Sony’s influential third-party provider, which upheld the PlayStation to secure infinite exclusive titles.
Nobody could have predicted this that Sony would triumph the video game market and proceed to do so into the next generation, as it delivered what is still the best-selling console of all time: the PlayStation 2.
Sony boasts of selling PS2 with over 150 million units and led users to play original PlayStation games, pioneering as the best-selling game console of all time. This console included hits like Final Fantasy X, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and Grand Theft Auto games.
The PlayStation 2, which explored the utility of DVDs, went up versus the Sega Dreamcast (published in 1999, and Microsoft’s Xbox (2001), the Nintendo Gamecube (2001), and many more.
The emergence of Modern Age Technology
People these days are more addicted to gaming with various gaming technologies like PC, PS, Xbox, Switch, Smart-phones, etc. With the surge in the gaming industry and growing needs for the gamers, there are various sub mechanics available for a successful title release. Distinct types of gaming available are:
The Strategy games, first-person shooters, hyper-casual game varieties, multiplayer games, all of them are the sub-genres available for online gaming. Online gaming is the most flooded sector with most grossing gaming applications and with this, in 2019, the online gaming industry estimated a revenue generation of about $16.9 billion.
MUDs are the ancient first forefathers in the online gaming industry released in the 1970s. After that, many blockbuster titles came into the view like Islands of Kesmai in 1984 and several releases in the 1990s. The online gaming is the most addictive with several popular titles of the present decade like PUBG, Mini Militia, Ludo King, Over Cooked 2, etc.
With any-where availability of mobile phones, they are the assets in gaming technology. Mobile games have provided recreation to people at any time like traveling, working, office-times, visiting anyone, and every other thing that one does. The whole of this giant journey started from Tetris in 1994 to Nokia’s Snake in 1997 and reaching the present-day destination of the blockbusters like Smash Hit, Candy Crush Saga, Angry Birds, etc.
From the whole of the giant gaming industry, the mobile gaming market is about 50% of the shares. And, the leading mobile game publisher is ‘King’, and the top-grossing mobile game being ‘Roblox’
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
AR or Augmented Reality is the reality with some add-ons to the existing screens, like some animations or changes that one can experience with the original backgrounds. VR is Virtual Reality that is a pseudo or artificial reality that provides an extraordinary experience of entering the gaming world with VR devices.
Ivan Sutherland with his student Bob Sproull created the first AR/VR display in 1968 that was a head-mounted one, named ‘Swords of Damocles’. Pokemon Go, Ingress, Moss, InMind VR, etc, a wide range of gaming applications are available for AR and VR with their enhanced entertainment. Goldstein’s research surveys stated AR and VR accounting for about 5.2 billion USD in 2016, and according to Statista surveys, it clocked to reach 18.8 billion USD by the end of 2020.
At present, around 88% of the mid-sized companies are trying to make use of AR/VR technologies for their applications.
Artificial Intelligence has a wide range of applications in various advancements. With AI flooding the market shares with its success pattern, it had marked its territory over the gaming industry too. AI enhances the responses and the adaptabilities with add-on automatic features in any application.
During the Arcade games’ golden era, AI started with its success with various releases like Space Invaders in 1978, Galaxian in 1979, and Pac-Man in 1980. AI enhances the user experiences and thus about 15% of the companies only use it for better responses for the customers. AI is at the top in various technologies and in gaming, it excels with various releases like Halo Reach, StarCraft 2, and many more.
Blockchain games rely on the concept of the chain of blocks representing cryptocurrency. Bit-coins and eventually gambling games are the most prominent development of blockchain technology. Betting attracts millions of folks to Vegas, and this advancement in the gaming industry enhances a wide user-base for the released technology.
Various casinos, betting games, and the other games supporting bitcoin that are dominating the gaming industry are Crypto Kitties, My Crypto Heroes, The Six Dragons, etc. With further blockchain game releases, the blockchain market will rise to 39 billion USD by 2025.
Lastly, this is not the end of the technology imprints on the Gaming World. With swift technology changes, one can predict that there is more to the story.