Games are something which is loved by everybody, people of all ages play games. However, here we are talking about video games. Still whatever we said before holds true for video games as well, as video games are everybody’s favorite today no matter boys, girls, kids, or people of old age, everyone is playing games today.
The craze of video games has become so huge that now there is hardly anyone left that can honestly say that they haven’t played video games in their life. Although the trends of video games started late, still it was such influential that today the video game industry is worth more than 180 billion dollars.
Many would be surprised to know another fun fact that this is more than the cinema, TV, and music industry combined. As a comparison, America’s biggest internet provider Comcast has 53 million subscribers, while the second-biggest provider Spectrum has over 26 million customers, and the total number of internet users is estimated at 302 million.
On the other hand, there are more than 226 million gamers in the country which means more than half of the internet-using community is a gamer, and this subscriber base is far more than the two biggest tech companies of the US. But behind such huge success, there is a rich history of gaming which we are going to dwell on.
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History of Gaming
The billion-dollar business that the video game industry does today is enough to cement its position in the market. However, things weren’t this smooth always. The supposedly first video game was created in 1958 as a project by William Higinbotham a physicist. The game had simple tennis gameplay which was made to denote the second law of motion.
The first commercial game was developed back in the 70s and was faltered at that time. It was called computer space and was made in 1971 but was a flop. However, in 1972 the famous Atari Corporation picked up the inspiration from Higinbotham’s game and made the iconic Pong, which is considered the first actual commercial game. After that, the video game industry didn’t look back, and with time there were new entrants, and enhancements in technology made this industry the behemoth and the forefront of the entertainment segment in the consumer market.
Dawn of Console Gaming
We all know the cultural influence video game has in our lives today. We all grew up playing some or all of the icons of the video game industry like Mario, Sonic, Doom, Donkey Kong, Resident Evil, and Grand Theft Auto among many others.
There was a time when not everyone had high-end computers to play video games on, and many used to visit arcades. Then came Sony and Microsoft and with the invention of PlayStation and Xbox, gamming was revolutionized forever. The PlayStation 2 also became the most selling gaming console in the world with more than 158 million units sold. The influence of these consoles is such legendary that both of these consoles are still being made to this day with the latest entries being Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.
Internet in Gaming
This is also true that the inclusion of the internet in gaming came through these consoles. Many think this was a feat done by PC or mobile gaming. But it was actually the consoles that paved way for the internet in the gaming industry. Before it was only two players that played together on a single machine or console with two controllers. This was the concept of multiplayer in the earlier days of gaming, and it wasn’t changed for decades.
However, by the early 2005 and 2006 when the internet started becoming a common technology among youth games like Call of Duty started to capitalize on it. Although, there were other online games as well. But, the multiplayer formula Call of Duty: Modern Warfare used back in 2007 revolutionized modern multiplayer gaming.
With unique maps, team systems, numerous players around the globe playing together and other perks like in-game voice communication a game achieved everything which was only imagined before. And surprisingly this was all done on console, I remember coming back from school and putting on my headsets to play a match with my friends, I’m sure most of you remember too. Through gaming, a community was formed of people living around the globe not even knowing each other but becoming friends through games, and this group was called gamers.
It feels amazing what gaming was able to accomplish even before smartphones became a thing, but obviously, since smartphones incorporated every smart feature on earth it was about time they did the same with gaming too. However, mobile games were present as early as the 2000s, we all remember the iconic Snake game. But with the advancement in technology, and the scale of mobile phones increasing the quality of games on mobiles also started increasing. Now we are at a point where PUBG and Fortnite are the games dominating the entire gaming industry and these games are being played most on mobile phones.
Millions of people are playing these games and almost 50 percent of the gaming industry revenue is generated through mobile games. Mobiles now possess enough hardware power and technology to support the latest games and superior graphics, plus they provide users with a sense of portability and the option to play on the go, something which was lacking with both PC and gaming consoles.
Pandemic and Future of Gaming
When the whole economy of the world was declining there was only one industry that was thriving, the gaming industry. During lockdowns people had nothing to do, so all they did was enjoy their favorite games from the comfort of their house. The number of gamers was increased by double digits during the lockdowns, even more than the number of streamers or cable TV subscribers. This was the sheer power of gaming that kept on increasing, and this pandemic also gave elderly people a chance to try gaming, and as expected most of them became permanent fans and consumers.
With new and new technology like AR and VR being integrated into gaming, the future surely looks promising. Plus with the older generation including us who spent their childhood with their iconic games, and the coming millennials already hooked to their phones playing games it is safe to say that gaming is an industry that is not going anywhere anytime soon. Gaming is one of those few things left that Millennials, Moomers, and even Gen G can enjoy together, without canceling each other.
Gaming is already a well-established and growing industry, and through this piece, we tried to highlight the early stages of gaming the kind of steps it took in the journey, and where it stands today. We also included the effects the pandemic had on the gaming industry, and what the future holds for this important component or probably the most essential component of the entertainment segment.