If we look a few years back, the gaming industry has evolved significantly. In my childhood, we only had access to a few games such as Robocop which was inspired by the movie of the same name, Super Mario, Doom, and Virtual Fighter. Those games were incredible in their own way and in accordance with that time. However, compared to what is available now, those might seem like the MVP of some upcoming games.
Now we have access to hundreds and thousands of astonishing games with new ones coming in every year. There are all sorts of games from multiplayer RPGs to action adventures and battle royale. Online gaming has also grown exponentially with the internet being available for almost everyone. Even those living in remote areas have access to internet services such as HughesNet internet and get a download speed of up to 25 Mbps.
Moreover, the revenues of the gaming industry have grown exponentially with hitting $165 billion in total during the year 2020. As we see the graphs shifting upwards and the industry as to where it is today, let’s take a look a look at how it all started and what driving factors brought it to where it is today.
The Early Years of Gaming
The crown to start the gaming community is often given to Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Attari. However, the first-ever gaming machine was revealed by Dr. Edward U Condon in 1940, which was based on the mathematical game ”Nim”. The game was played by thousands of people over six months.
Later on, the first commercial home use was known as the “Brown Box”, introduced by Ralph Baer in 1967. It could be connected to a TV and allowed two players to control cubes and play a variety of games including checkers, ping pong, and some others. It also included attachments such as a lightgun for playing shooting games. The brown Box was later licensed to Magnavox which released it in 1972, a few months before Attari’s release of Pong.
The Pre-Crash Era (1972-1983)
In 1973, it was the release of Attari’s game Pong that kickstarted the gaming industry and brought the first real electronic video game for the people. The arcade machines for this game were available everywhere from bars to shopping malls and took the market by storm.
Moreover, the first multiplayer game on separate screens was introduced for the PLATO network system. That game was called “Empire” and allowed up to 8 people to take their turns and play the game.
Some new divisions were also seen in the market with clones of the arcade game Pong, but the market was bolstered with the release of Space Invaders in 1978 and other games such as Pac-Man and Donkey Kong.
The Tech Race in Gaming (1985-2000)
The gaming industry grew faster than it was ever imagined and probably that is what rushed companies into releasing poor quality consoles and games, including Attari. As a result, the market crashed in 1983.
However, that was the time when PCs were becoming a reality and were much better and powerful than consoles. They allowed programmers to create their games. A new revolution in gaming industry is the invention of laptop. Laptops are becoming popular day by day for playing games. You can look at list of low price gaming laptops under 300.
Moreover, the release of the Nintendo NES console in 1985 helped to revive the market as it offered high-quality games such as Duch Hunt and Mario, and Excitebike.
Later on, Nintendo continued to dominate the market with its handheld console Game Boy and the latest Super NES system while other competitors such as Sega stepped into the game.
Sega introduced its Sega Mega Drive Consoles in 1988 followed by the release of Game Gear, its handheld console. A few years later, Sony entered the market with PlayStation which used CD rooms instead of the cartridge and gave the market a new direction. That was the first-ever console to sell over 100 million units.
Similarly, Microsoft introduced its DirectX API to help in game programming. That branding, later on, allowed the company to make its way for the Xbox.
The Online Bang (2001-Present)
After the introduction of mobile devices and the internet, the gaming industry saw a new boom. The revenues started growing from hundreds of millions to hundreds of billions. Microsoft launched its Xbox Live, the online gaming platform for users to play multiplayer games with voice chat in return for a subscription fee. That was a huge success and marked the beginning of the new era.
On the other hand, PC gaming also saw a rise in 2004 with the release of World of Warcraft. That had more than 14 Million monthly subscribers paved the way for something new.
At the same time, BlackBerry and Nokia started working on integrating gaming apps into their phones to make them more desirable for their users. Though they were the first to initiate the process, Apple was the one that succeeded in it with the introduction of its Apple Store. That offered a way for developers to create games for the mass market and offer free, paid, or even versions with in-app purchases.
Games like GTA V that crossed the Billion dollar target in just 3 days showed that the market needs improvements and a better experience. Now the market is heading towards cloud-based gaming subscriptions and VR while the future is yet to be determined. It depends upon over 3 billion gamers around the world to take the market wherever they want. Let’s see what the future holds!