Since its commercial birth, gaming has experienced rapid development. Due to various innovations, gaming has now become part of mainstream pop culture and will likely remain so for some time to come.
In the 90s, console wars between Sony and Microsoft raged fiercely, each company touting major game franchises to win over gamers.
Online capabilities developed during the 2000s inspired larger audiences to engage with video games. Family-focused titles also fostered interactivity.
Gaming was not always what it is today; when players huddled around Pong joysticks in their basements and vied to earn Pac-Man scores back in the ’70s and ’80s, few could have predicted what it would become today. As new technologies and trends emerged over time – from consoles to mobile phones – video gaming has evolved into a global entertainment industry.
As bit technology progressed, videogames used more colors and graphics to simulate more lifelike visuals. The 1990s witnessed a boom in console sales with iconic game IP like Mario, Crash Bandicoot and Zelda being released onto the market.
In the 2000s, “life simulation” games such as The Sims and World of Warcraft became immensely popular, while handheld gaming devices like Nintendo DS and Xbox 360 saw Microsoft and Nintendo maintain dominance in their respective markets. Since mobile apps like Fruit Ninja and Candy Crush launched, gaming industry growth has dramatically accelerated with audiences now driving growth more than gamers themselves.
Early gaming consoles were limited to playing simple challenge games. Early computer systems like Atari VCS and 2600 allowed users to expand gameplay capabilities by plugging in external ROM games for expansion of playability. Magazines such as Computer and Video Games and Gaming World encouraged readers to create their own games using BASIC code.
With the Internet and increasingly powerful computer processors, game graphics have seen dramatic improvement over the years. Now 3.2 billion people worldwide can access it at lightning speeds, making online multiplayer gaming increasingly common.
Gaming has also become more social. A 2022 study determined that Gen Z gamers spent more time gaming with friends than any other media. Gaming also has a major presence on social media and gaming forums; yet mobile gaming remains in its infancy due to small phone screens, limited memory space and processor speed issues which limit mobile game’s potential.
Mobile gaming has grown tremendously since Nokia released their first phone featuring Snake in 1998. Thanks to advances in hardware such as 120Hz refresh rates and 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU’s as well as big name franchises like Fortnite and Pokemon GO, mobile games continue to push the limits of what players can experience on their devices.
These developments have altered how consumers spend their gaming time. Free-to-play models funded through microtransactions have become the dominant model for mobile gaming, while new approaches such as Games-as-a-Service (GaaS) have led many traditional developers to offer “loot boxes” or Season Passes that mimic subscription services.
Key findings of our research reveal that personal, interpersonal and environmental forces come together to exert push-pull forces that regulate how much time people devote to gaming (see Fig. 1). These factors allow their total time spent gaming to expand or contract as they move between genres of gaming.
Future gaming trends point towards mobile games with immersive virtual reality features, like Temple Run and Subway Surfers that incorporate AR features. Niantic’s Ingress further expanded AR by enabling gamers to visit “portals” located nearby their real-world location.
Technology is revolutionizing gaming with increased processing power and decreased latency brought on by 5G networks, enabling developers to create games taking place within larger virtual worlds like Genshin Impact from miHoYo.
Apple, Amazon and Google continue to demonstrate their interest in gaming by creating products of their own for gamers to enjoy. Furthermore, these tech titans have invested in cloud gaming that enables gamers to stream games over the internet instead of downloading and installing them first on devices – potentially increasing mobile and console game sales while helping reduce screen time for those engaging in this form of entertainment.