While earlier times saw computer games, arcades, gaming consoles as the go-to for gaming, the advent of technological advancement brought with it loads of new inventions and to top it off, new and creative video games. PlayStation, created by Sony Interactive Entertainment was created in December 1994. It was considered a huge success with the sale of up to 100 million units in the subsequent 9 years and 6 months. It gradually released sequels like PlayStation 2 to stay on top of the updates coming along. This opened a whole new market for opportunities that new vendors looked to exploit.
Xbox, a video gaming branch created and owned by Microsoft was first introduced in the US in 2001. It grasped the market by its neck, selling 24 million units till May 2006. Afterwards, came the Xbox 360, Xbox One, etc. to sustain its place in the highly competitive market. Needless to say, gaming became a new cool of which people couldn’t get enough of.
When I recall flashbacks from my childhood, I see a younger me giddy and excited for my chance at the computer to play games like Mario, Dave, Pacman, etc. And let’s not forget the Snake game in Nokia. Our childhood was a montage of playing outdoor games and sneaking away to play video games. Whoever had the coolest video games was considered cool. But that was the case in the early 2000’s. What’s the scenario now?
Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, etc. have broadened the scope of games to a new high. It’s a whole new thriving industry with multiple avenues. The expansion of industry to mobile phones have completely upped the revenue factor. While mobile gaming has some restrictions compared to PC and console games, the easy availability and feasibility have fairly compensated in that area. The market gaming industry occupies 50% of the global games market with numerous games releasing every day on the play store. According to the influencer Marketing hub, gaming is the third most popular app category. Games like PUBG, clash of clans, etc. have brought the gaming industry to the forefront of the media. Moreover, games and virtual reality are now being used in the process of recruitment of prospective employees. This process, called Gamification deals with creating a simulation of the working conditions which can derive the performance and productivity of a person. This is a huge boost to the gaming industry.
The PC and console gaming industry is an all-together different category with games as expensive as $265 million (Call of duty). With its wide selection of cooking, shooting, racing, puzzles, etc games, it is a favorite among teenagers. The console gaming provides a realistic and out of the world experience. It also connects people from all around the world. With amazing graphics and detailed structuring, it provides a much-needed break from the everyday grind of our lives.
But for some people, it’s a way of earning income rather than enjoyment. Twitch, one of the major hosts for console and PC streamers around the world offers an option to make revenue from streaming live video games in way of sponsorships, advertisements, etc. In 2014, Amazon bought the company for 960 million dollars. It now offers a popular online service for watching and streaming digital video broadcasts. Another way of revenue for the gaming industry is in the form of various tournaments. Famous tournaments like International 9 The 2018 League of Legends World Championship, etc have a prize fund of $25.5 million and $6.4 million respectively. Well, needless to say, that’s enough money to retire happily.
What however disturbs is the staggering amount of time youth spends on playing video games. There are approximately 2.3 billion gamers in the world. This alarming amount matches the current trend of behaviour. People nowadays prefer Xbox and PlayStation to outdoor games. This has led to a lot of negative side effects. Obesity, lack of physical activity, lack of vitamin D, etc have associated video games with a bad name. But the restricted amount of gaming can actually lead to better productivity. Studies have shown that it spurs creativity, happiness, and enthusiasm. As long as it is restricted to a certain time frame.
What does it mean for our economy? Well, firstly it means a surge in employment opportunities due to its thriving industry. Nowadays, virtual worlds can create real jobs. Secondly, it affects our money supply. According to reports, the gaming video content market was $5.2 billion in 2018. It’s gaining cultural importance in the world. It’s competing with the film industry for revenues. Movies like Lego have made successful box office debut. And in return, famous movies have made games based on their famous characters. This promises a very bright future for the gaming industry with many technological advances along the way.
Looking at the road map, we can conclude that gaming has come a long way from being a pastime to having separate consoles such as Xbox and PlayStation only to later come into our mobiles and to ultimately become a billion-dollar industry. It is considered a pastime as well as a career to people. With diversifying its reach from job recruitment to cultural influences, it has gained respect and technological improvement along the way. It’s a popular way to relax after a long day and minimize stress. It can be addictive as well, with people playing it for long hours, and exercising self-control in this area is important. It has also opened a never before seen venture into technology. Nolan Bushnell rightfully said, “Video games foster the mindset that allows creativity to grow”. Effectively channelizing energy into creative channels can be life-changing and invigorating.