Video gaming today is a huge global industry that encompasses everything from video games to professional eSports. Over the past three decades, the gaming industry has grown to be worth over $180 billion and, with 3 billion people across the globe now playing games, it’s more popular than ever before.
The development of advanced technologies has played a massive role in the growth of the gaming industry. In this article, we’ll be looking at 3 major developments that were bolstered by tech advancements, leading to the comprehensive digital gaming industry that we have today.
The history of video games can be traced back to the middle of the 20th century when Dr Edward Uhler Condon unveiled a mathematical game at the New York World’s Fair in 1940. In the decades that followed, arcade computing became a major trend, followed by home computing in the 1980s.
Real advances in online gaming, however, began to take place as the century was drawing to a close. Gaming manufacturers including SEGA, Nintendo and Atari all began experimenting with online gaming and, at the turn of the Millennium, these early attempts paved the way for a new generation of home consoles with internet capabilities.
In 2002, Microsoft debuted its Xbox home console, complete with the Xbox Live service (now known as Xbox network). Suddenly, it was possible to play multiplayer games online against competitors from the other side of the world. Three years later, an updated version arrived to support the release of the Xbox 360, offering even stronger digital distribution.
Keen not to be outdone, Sony launched the PlayStation Network in 2006 to support the PSP and PS3 consoles (and every console since. Not only did this reignite the “console war” between the two companies, but it also set in motion an upward trend for the industry that has since spawned cloud gaming and gaming as a service (GAAS).
The Online Poker Boom
The emergence of the internet into the mainstream also had a transformative effect on a niche segment of the gaming industry – online poker. Since the rise of home gaming in the 1980s, poker fans only had two choices for playing the game on the small screen: in console video games like Vegas Stakes, or compete for play money on rudimentary websites.
By the late 1990s, however, several poker platforms had entered the market offering gamers the opportunity to compete for real money prizes. But no-one was quite prepared for the massive online poker boom that was about to hit in 2003.
That year, an amateur player entered a satellite tournament online that granted him entry into a renowned live poker tournament. The tournament happened to be the Main Event of the 2003 World Series of Poker. Although he went into the tournament with no expectations, the amateur player emerged the victor with a gold bracelet and $2,500,000 in prize money.
That win didn’t just change his life, it also dramatically shifted the course of the online poker sector. An underdog story that defined the poker era, the 2003 WSOP win served as inspiration to may. Within months people all over the world were clamouring for the opportunity to know how to play poker online and compete in tournaments and championships. Now, of course, online poker has become a core market in the lucrative iGaming segment.
Gaming on the Go
We can thank the noughties for bringing us another major development in the gaming industry – mobile gaming. Now a segment worth $93.2 billion, many in the gaming community believe that mobile is the future of the industry. Mobile gaming has a massive market – not bad for a segment that is around 15 years old.
The prevalence of sophisticated smartphones and app stores in 2007 made mobile gaming a possibility. Rapid evolution and innovation meant that within years, revenue across mobile gaming apps overtook revenue generated in the console gaming segment.
Gaming on the go appeals to everyone, from the busy commuter looking for a distraction to professional gamers who even compete in mobile gaming tournaments.
In 2022, the market is flooded with a wealth of dedicated gaming smartphones from brands like Razer and Asus ROG. Even big development studios are getting in on the action by releasing new games as mobile firsts – and to roaring success.