According to Newzoo, a gaming analytics firm, the global game industry revenue will reach $159 billion in 2020. This accounts for a 9-percent increase from 2019’s revenue. The company also predicted the industry will surpass the $200 billion mark before 2023 ends.
Would you look at that, how the gaming industry reached these figures? And it can be hard to overlook the influence it exerts in our daily lives. Plus, you cannot ignore its allure, which goes beyond mere amusement. Not only is it fun, video games also sharpen our cognitive skills and enhance brain function.
Gaming has indeed gone a long way. Did you know the first known board game called Senet dated back to 3500 BC? With today’s games, we have virtual gaming, gesture control, and facial recognition, among others. We can even play games for real money and turn this hobby into a job, either full-time or as a side-hustle to supplement our regular jobs. It has been a huge leap from the primitive to the advanced, and we owe it all to technology.
In this article, we will dissect the history of gaming and how technology helped in advancing it. Let us look at the timeline.
Gaming Throughout Human History
The first board game dated back to 3500 BC in ancient Egypt with scientists discovering them in predynastic and first dynasty burials. These were eventually passed onto the next generations, cultures, and societies.
Card games and checkers were big in the 17th century. People played it even if the Puritans and Pilgrims disapproved of it.
With the shift from agrarian to urban living in the 18th century came along the focus for leisure time. Thus, board games became popular. One of the big games back then was “The Mansion of Happiness.” Its creator based it on Christian morality that existed at that time in the U.S.
In the 19th century, there was a boom in commercially produced board games. This was a result of the advancements in the print and paper industry, particularly in chromolithography. Hence, card and board games had vibrant designs with rich-colored images.
The board game industry continued to flourish, which eventually gave us the popular game called “Monopoly.” Also known as “The Landlord’s Game,” it came out in 1902, following the design by Elizabeth Magie. From this point on, the growth of the board game industry was exponential.
Then came the first electronic digital computer in 1937. The innovation opened new doors for more advancements in technology, particularly in gaming. In fact, as part of their research, computer scientists designed games.
In 1970, the world saw the first video game. Nutting Associated introduced “Computer Space.” The second video game, called “Ping,” was out in 1972. This sparked the popularity and craze for coin operated, arcade games.
From 1975 to 2000, it has been a whirlwind buzz. Video games became a staple in many homes. Over these years, new software came out, cementing the potential of the gaming industry.
Gaming in 2000
New innovations arrived, resulting in the further booming of the gaming industry. With the release of PCs and consoles came mobile phones that featured games. Remember “Snake” on Nokia?
And as phone technology further advanced, so do the mobile games that came out. Unfortunately, this resulted in the decline in board game sales. In 2011, sales of video games on PC and console reached around $2 billion. On the other hand, games played on mobile devices and through social media are close to $6 billion in valuation.
While its initial developments started in the 1950s, virtual reality saw rapid advancements. This is due to the massive development in camera, video, graphics, and computer technology.
How Mobile Devices and Apps Changed the Gaming Landscape
Between 2016 and now, we have seen the exponential growth of the mobile gaming market around the world. In 2020 alone, its global estimated value is around $72 billion. By allowing people to play games from anywhere, no wonder mobile games are profitable.
The appeal of mobile games, however, made it difficult for arcades and similar places of gaming entertainment to attract customers. This paved the way for entertainment tablet kiosks to come out. These kiosks are popular not just in gaming establishments but also in restaurants that target a younger market.
Take McDonald’s for example. The company is creating restaurants that feature tablet kiosk mounts, holding devices with gaming apps.
9 Amazing Advances in Gaming Technology
Thanks to technology, today’s video games came a long way since the 1980s when they crossed into the mainstream. Here are some of the top advances in the gaming industry.
- Facial Recognition
Want to create an avatar that looks like you? Thanks to facial recognition and 3D scanning technology, you can inventively transform a character into your likeness. And if you have other creative expressions, you can move them to the digital platform.
One of the popular facial recognition devices is the Intel RealSense 3D camera. Widely used in the gaming industry, this device captures facial expressions and emotions of the gamer. To do this, the camera scans over 70 different points on the person’s face. So if the camera captures a few grimaces, its system would dial down the game’s difficulty level.
- Gesture Control
Imagine being able to control your video game character with just a few waves of your hand. Again, this is within the realm of the Intel RealSense 3D technology. With this device, you can get rid of your game controller.
So how does this work? The 3D camera registers 22 points on the player’s hand. The gesture control device will then connect the movements into the player’s gaming experience.
- Voice Recognition
This technology also allows the player to ditch the game controller. While this has been around for quite some time, voice-controlled gaming finally caught up in the mainstream. Today, game computers can recognize commands through the player’s voice.
Voice command technology can also control the gameplay as well as perusal of the selections on the media library. Its users can also search the web or interact on social media by simply voicing out.
- High-Definition Graphics
Long gone are the days of 8-bit graphics and 2D displays. In today’s gaming technology, players can enjoy hyper-realistic visuals and fully rendered environments. With the cutting-edge advances, players can enjoy a more immersive experience. It’s like being inside the game.
What’s more, the price points for high-definition gaming computers steadily declined. Now, a lot of people can afford to have unbeatable crisp and color in their game graphics. Speaking of graphics, have you heard about the latest rumors on NVIDIA RTX 30 Series?
- Virtual and Augmented Reality
These are two distinct technologies that are making its way into the mainstream. Virtual reality headsets provide a fully immersive experience for the gamers. Thus, it’s easy to lose oneself in the virtual environment.
An alternative to virtual reality is augmented reality. A great example of an augmented reality game is “Pokemon Go.” Players maneuver in the real world while working on their objectives in the game.
Augmented reality provides a unique perspective to the players. With this technology, the games are no longer confined to TV or computer screens.
- Mobile Gaming
The popularity of smartphones helped in pushing mobile gaming into the mainstream. As a result, it took out arcade and living room gaming, putting the entertainment into one’s hands.
One can easily see people playing games using their phones while waiting in lines or on the daily commute. With tons of games available on mobile devices, digital gaming spread beyond PC and console. Even hardcore online gamers and console consumers are into it.
- Wearable Gaming
It’s not just mobile gaming through smartphones that allows gamers to enjoy portability. Players can also enjoy video games using wearable devices that are not too invasive. All that is possible with the use of such devices like smartwatches and smart glasses.
Companies that designed these wearable gaming devices intend them to be fitness applications at first. They usually come in the form of apps that track running or riding distances using GPS. But today, we can see the fitness applications translated for entertainment.
Wearable devices are no longer just extensions of the body (especially those used in workouts). They are also now extensions of gaming consoles.
- Cloud Gaming
In the past, games have limitations, particularly in regards to the amount of memory the discs or consoles hold. So it’s no surprise when you see games that come into double discs. This is where cloud gaming offers a solution.
Instead of having video games that need more powerful hardware, cloud gaming developers lighten the load with the cloud. As a result, games have massive size limits, which allow directly streaming through the internet.
- On-Demand Gaming
From the word “on-demand,” doesn’t it evoke Netflix and other movie streaming services to mind? Well, that’s what on-demand gaming is about. This technology allows gamers to access live-streams of games. And what’s even better is you can play the available games too.
On-demand gaming removes the need for a console or PC out of the equation. Requiring only a good internet connection, gamers can play the most in-demand games. These games are available for phones, tablets, consoles, and computers.
According to the latest PC games news, a lot of brands expressed interest to join the on-demand gaming service. Names like Sony, Steam, and Nvidia join a gallery of startups, hoping to secure a piece of the pie. These brands are also looking to have their own proprietary tech to have a solid hold of the niche market.
Jonathan J Kingston is a video game enthusiast, gamer, and a veteran video game news writer for Games.lol. He spends his free time hunting for free game sites and testing their reliability.