Video games have been a part of the entertainment world for more than sixty years. Most people would think that the gaming industry started in the late 90s, but it was actually very active in the 70s and 80s too. During this period that has lasted half a century, we have seen amazing technological advancements and ridiculously unique inventions. From the basic ideas such as Pong and Tennis for Two to huge open-world areas with immaculate level designs, with very smart AI, etc.
However, during the period between the 1960s and the 1990s, there wasn’t a lot of improvement in the ideas for video games and the way they were developed. This new industry was still very young and the interest for it was quite tiny. The only market at the time most probably was just the United States and maybe a couple of other countries in Europe.
In the mid-1990s, the industry finally started to develop much faster and in the right direction too. We started seeing technological advancements in consoles and personal computers too. All of these devices started becoming more and more affordable to the general public and could handle much better graphics or complex programs.
Once first-person shooters started showing up on the market such as Doom, Doom II, Wolfenstein, and finally Half-Life, the entire game industry saw a huge boost. The period between the 2000s and 2023 might be the most important part of history for gaming, but we want to specifically focus on these last five years. To help you understand just how important these past 5 years were, here are the five ways gaming has changed.
One of the most important developments in the gaming industry is the competitive scene or more commonly referred to as e-sports. Of course, e-sports has been around for more than 20 years, but its first huge worldwide growth was in 2014 or 2015.
With the release of Counter-Strike Global Offensive, Dota 2, and League of Legends, the love for the competitive scene started to spread immensely. During these years everyone was talking about the crazy amount of money you can make from DOTA 2 tournaments, the ridiculous aiming skills of CS: GO pro players and the free to play game (League of Legends) that gave people the chance to go pro. It truly was a time when people were able to finally realize just how much potential there is in the industry.
Since then, the e-sports scene has kept developing more and more. Today, you can find a professional team for almost any multiplayer game. Whether it is a strategy, first-person shooter, third-person shooter, and even in the indie survival genre. Even if you do not like the idea of multiplayer gaming, you still have to appreciate just how much e-sports has provided to the videogame world.
Ease of access
Another great change in the video game industry is the ease of access for games. There are several platforms out there such as Steam, Origin, Battle.net, uPlay, Epic, and many more that provide you with a huge library or store full of video games. Once you make an account on any of these platforms, all you have to do is buy the product that you want to play and then press download. Depending on the file size, you will be able to play in just a couple of minutes or several hours. The need to go to a brick-and-mortar shop for your favorite video game is long gone.
Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages to this too. There are some platforms out there that have tried to force exclusivity. For example, Metro Exodus was only available on Epic’s platform for more than a year until it was finally released to other platforms such as Steam.
But, it looks like even that trend is dying out because many companies have realized that this is a mistake. A great example of that is Bungie’s decision to finally release Destiny 2 on Steam after two years of exclusivity on Battle.net. According to lfcarry.com, these days you are not just limited to hiring a Destiny 2 carry for your Battle.net account, you can also hire one for Steam too. This kind of ease of access and freedom to use any platform is great for every gamer on the planet.
Streaming and YouTube
One of the main reasons why video games have become so popular around the world these past five years is because of the rise of YouTube and streaming platforms such as Twitch and Mixer, but mostly because of Twitch.
YouTube gaming videos have been around the Internet for at least 13 years. They have been the source of entertainment for many people and for some even source of help with walkthroughs or playthroughs.
However, once the Twitch platform started to get more and more popular, people realized that streamers can provide a much different type of entertainment. Since everything is done live, the audience has a much more personal connection to the person streaming.
In 2017 and 2018 during the rise of Battle Royale games such as H1Z1, Player Unknown Battlegrounds, Fortnite, and many more, the Twitch platform saw a rush of millions of viewers. One especially important moment was when the famous streamer Ninja played a Fortnite match with the famous rapper Drake. These kinds of moments made a huge change in the gaming industry.
Virtual reality or VR is still in its very early stages, but it has come a long way and compared to just five years ago. What seemed impossible in 2015, today is completely doable which is amazing. There are hundreds of VR games out there that work flawlessly. We even finally got to see a new part of the Half-Life series, Half-Life: Alyx which is VR only.
The platforms I mentioned earlier such as Steam, Origin or Epic have given independent developers a chance to show off their ideas and skills. In fact, the Steam homepage is riddled with more video games that have been made by an independent developer rather than those made from multi-million dollar companies.
The changes in the gaming industry in these last five years are very apparent, but I believe these five changes are the most notable ones.