The video game industry is over $100 billion today in the global market. The rapid rise in the popularity of video games has been since the 21st century because of the sudden rise in the popularity of video consoles as well as an increased level of mobile gaming platforms. About two third households in America have family members that are playing video games. From decades, these games have been developing and improving in various ways. Find out more about how the first video games were created and what were the factors that led to its mass popularity.
Background to Video Gaming
Initially, video gaming began in the 1960s. Although, it was not on a mass scale, but major research and developments were being undertaken which helped in further growth and promotion of video games. Notable advancement was made in 1950 when a renowned scientist, Claude Shannon, laid the foundation for a computer playing a chess game. He published his article named “Programming a Computer for Playing Chess”. Further A. S. Douglass created the first ever tic tac toe game between a human and a computer. This game was known as the OXO Program.
The US Military was also quite interested in developing different types of video games for the purpose of training the soldiers. For this purpose, they developed Hutspiel which had Red vs Blue Players that represented NATO and Soviet Commanders. This game was developed as a virtual training for workers. Significant improvements were made in 1956 and 1957 when the model of Checkers and Chess were developed on IBM-701 and IBM-704 computers that could calculate for upcoming potential moves as well.
The 1960s was an important era for the history of video gaming since mainframe computers were becoming more important. Although, the concept of screen monitors was still under progress but the developments being made during this time such as written down programs led to much ease in developing video games. In 1961, the first known baseball computer program was developed on IBM 1620.
In 1962, a semi-video game was invented by a student of MIT. The game was called “SpaceWar“ and gained massive global attention. Important turnaround of events happened in 1964 when the Basic Programming Language was created by John Kemeny. This was such an easy to understand programming language that it helped many students to write their own computer games. Soon, this led to mass creation of games. Further, Ralph Baer developed his game called Brown Box that allowed users to play tennis and other games on one platform.
The 1970s was the time period when video games reached a mass audience as the previous developments had led to the creation of coin-based arcade games. Although these were still not being available to everyone at their homes as they were high in their cost, they did show a major potential for the video games in the future. Teletype machines also became popular and the arcade-based gaming centers started to open up.
Major developments in this era also include the creation of the first ever monitor in 1973. Table tennis game called Pong was also created over an arcade machine in 1973. Don Woods created the first ever text-based game called Adventure. It was a game inspired by Dungeons and Dragons. This was one of the first ones that created a way for the role-playing games.
A full-scale video game entertainment system was launched in 1977 by Atari which had a joystick, games in color, changeable cartridges, switches, and adjustable controls. This made the first ever video game system which could be commonly used at homes
Home Consoles Rise
The games that many of us have played in between 2000 to 2013 were created in the decade of the 1980s. Better and improved versions were then released later on. The famous beginner game of Pac Man was created in 1980. Kids games were being released due to high popularity.
A year later, Nintendo launched their first character-based game named Super Mario which reached a global audience. Nintendo also launched their Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985 which had multiple gadgets and controllers such as a gun-based control for shooting games. Nintendo Corporation released it as Famicom. Seeing the massive success, Nintendo brought these games to just one hand by launching the Nintendo Game Boy in 1989 which popularized handheld gaming. These handheld sets became popular for convenient gaming and long battery life as well.
John Madden Football was also a console and controller-based football game which was of major interest to the sports lovers. This game was among the perennial best sellers as well.
1990s Decade and Video Games
With major technological advancements and arrival of modern computers, the video game industry also started to flourish in the 1990s. Microsoft was among the first ones to take a major step for video games. The company launched several different types of games such as Solitaire and Minesweeper. These were easy to play casual games that could be played by a single player against a computer without any requirement for an internet connection.
Meanwhile, Sega which was earlier working as a small-scale tech firm now introduced their game character Sonic the Hedgehog which was one of the most important reasons how Sega got fame so fast. Although a proper game required additional time, the introduced character is considered iconic for the video gaming industry.
First Ever PlayStation – Sony Advances
One of the major developments towards video gaming is considered to be in the year 1995 when Sony developed the first PlayStation gaming console which was not only better than the Sega Game Console in terms of features but was a cheaper alternative as well. The PlayStation 1 offered the users multiple games that could be played via CDs. It had a dedicated controller as well, a modern version of which is still used today. In 1996, the famous game Lara Croft Tomb Raider was introduced. Despite getting initial criticism for highlighting sexism, the game led to creation of further games in the series due to its excelled popularity among the gamers.
The decade ended with a banger when Sony introduced a multiplayer action game called “Everquest” which allowed hundreds of thousands of users to join the game at a particular instance, build and develop their fortresses and join guilds to fight the different types of monsters so as to level up in the world of Norrath.
Seeing the massive success of PlayStation 1 in the market, Sony had already started working on the PlayStation 2 which was released in the year 2000. In 2001, Microsoft also entered the market seeing the success that Sony had, by launching their own gaming console named Xbox.
In 2005, the basic version of Xbox was upgraded to Xbox 360 which was one of the most high-tech gaming consoles of the era and provided users with high graphics games as well. Soon in 2006, PlayStation 3 was also launched which remained in the market for a long period of time. It had better controls and also offered connection with the online community of PlayStation users. This allowed the community to play games together as well as it acted as a social network for the users.
Last of Nintendo
During this time, although Nintendo did not enter the video gaming market with their console like Xbox and PlayStation but launched the Nintendo Wii which provided the gamers with an interactive gaming experience through motion-controlled remotes as well. Many of those who had not played video games before liked this idea as it offered a better gaming experience. Nintendo also had the Nintendo DS created in 2004 which was a handheld set with a small screen and integrated controller. This acted as a game console on the go.
With social media networks gaining importance among the users, the online gaming was increasing. People from all over the world were now connecting through social media and playing games as well. Farmville by Zynga Games was released in 2009 and was one of the most grossing video games online. The presence of the internet and no requirement of a gaming console for gaming led to much promotion and development of gaming towards the end users.
Modern Day Gaming
Onwards 2010, the gaming has advanced with modern and better consoles while the further developments have also led to creation of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality based games for the users. PlayStation 4 was released in 2013 and the most recent version, PlayStation 5 has been released in 2020. Xbox also improved to Xbox One and then to Xbox Series X in 2020. Famous games of the time period include Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, Fort Nite, Counter Strike, FIFA, WWE and others.
Mobile phone gaming was also introduced and promoted following 2010. With better smartphones such as Android and Apple iPhones, the interactive games such as PUBG, Among Us, GTA, 8 Ball Pool, and other different forms of games were introduced. Online multiplayer was now so easily accessible because of everyone carrying a cell phone. Today, the cell phone gaming industry has crossed the $63 billion revenue mark and expected to cross $100 billion by 2023.
Over 70 years of efforts have made the video gaming platform a highly interactive and unique one. From a simple ball game to complete simulation games, these games are now programmed on a higher level. Video games have been much popular in 2020 and we do expect them to stay on top in 2021 as well. The increased number of gaming platforms have promoted them. The future of video gaming is expected to become more realistic using virtual and augmented reality concepts.