If there is one constant in the video gaming industry, then it is change. One only has to look back to the earliest video games in the 1980s to see how they have improved immeasurably over the past 30 years. An early Atari console game like Pong is almost unrecognizable as belonging to the same species as Grand Slam Tennis 2. Or compare an early arcade game like Space Invaders to a current shooter like Battlefield 1. Of course, some old school classics like Super Mario are still popular, but technological advances mean we now expect a level of sophistication in our games that was unheard of just a couple of decades ago.
Popular art form
Video gaming has improved as technology has improved, and as a result has become more popular and is now part of mainstream culture. Once seen as a niche phenomenon largely pursued by adolescent boys, gaming is now as acceptable a form of entertainment as reading a book or going to see a movie. All new popular art forms seem to start out being derided by the establishment and the older generation. Seen as trashy, disposable, and a dangerous influence that will warp minds and stunt development, over time they become accepted as having real cultural value. Gaming has gone through this cycle and is now seen as a valid form of entertainment and even an art form.
Games are no longer just toys for boys to quickly grow out of; they are now played by all ages and both sexes. Only a few years ago gaming was still very much a male domain, but now women and girls make up roughly half of the gaming demographic. Players are now starting at a younger age and they tend to stick with gameplay, enjoying it on a regular basis. Many older individuals are discovering gaming for the first time, often attracted by the online availability of classic table games like poker and blackjack. Playing poker online has steadily grown in popularity with respected companies like 888poker providing a high-quality gaming experience. The ability to compete with players from across the world while in the comfort of your own home adds greatly to the appeal of online poker. Games can be enjoyed at any time of day without the expense of visiting a conventional casino.
Online and digital
Online gaming is one of the biggest changes to hit the industry over the last ten years, since the introduction of widespread reliable broadband. As well as making possible a wide range of casino gaming, online gaming has facilitated the development of multi-player experiences including massive multi-player role-playing games like the hugely popular World of Warcraft.
Digital distribution of games via portals like Steam (launched in 2003) has also had a massive effect on the industry, saving the PC from seeming gaming obsolescence and ensuring its dominance over consoles. Digital distribution and development apps have also leveled the playing field for independent developers to compete with multinational games companies, much to the benefits of players everywhere.
Alongside the improvements in graphics and playability in online and console games, we’ve also seen a huge growth in games for mobile platforms like phones and tablets. Meanwhile, VR gaming is just around the corner. The changes aren’t about to let up any time soon.