The gaming industry is evolving and it seems that every time we turn around there is another innovation. There are few periods of low growth in its entire history. The entertainment sector demands new approaches, and games are no different. The industry has adapted well to the era of internet, digitization, AI and other technological booms too.
Until the 1970s, gaming was unavailable for most, unless they were Ph.D. students testing new technology. The first commercially sold video game was an arcade called Computer Space, created by Nolan Bushell and Ted Debney in 1971. The 1980s were also the times when developers really started applying business to their creative thinking. They rented offices and studios to develop games, similar to the startup community today, developers worked on their projects, raising funds and eventually, the games were distributed by publishers. With the development of new technologies within gaming, this approach has changed though.
Broadband became a game-changer that allowed developers to save money on distributors and let gamers to be connected globally, offering multiplayer and online features. This online focus saw boxed game sales decline, and transformed the industry. Online platforms were created to ease game purchase, downloading process, and management of game libraries.
The industry now receives huge investment and developments in gaming are impacting the wider tech community. According to Wall Street Survivor, gaming stocks look stable with a massive potential for growth, with EA and NetEase as prime examples.
The Entertainment Software Association reports that more than 150 million of Americans play video games at least three hours per week, and the average age of a gamer is 31. It's considered to be a strong driver of economic growth, considering that games generated more than $22 billion in revenue in 2014. The industry also employs more than 146,000 people in the U.S alone.
The latest innovation is virtual reality technology, with Oculus Rift launched in 2014, a pioneer technology where a player can enjoy completely immersive gaming experience. VR has opened up new opportunities and several companies are now working exclusively in the area. However, given the pace of change in the industry, who knows what could happen next?