How responsible is technology for the changing gaming industry?

changing-gaming-industryTechnological advancements continue to change the gaming industry each decade… how will the future of gaming be affected?

The gaming industry continues to change as present online gaming expands more than ever, inevitably affecting in-person gaming.

Since its commercial birth in the 1950s as a technological oddity at a science fair, gaming has blossomed into one of the most profitable entertainment industries in the world.

The mobile technology boom in recent years has revolutionized the industry and opened the doors to a new generation of gamers. Indeed, gaming has become so integrated with modern popular culture that now even grandmas know what Angry Birds is, and more than 42 percent of Americans are gamers and four out of five U.S. households have a console.

So, let’s consider 2 specific aspects of the gaming industry that have changed over the decades:

  1. The transition from halls to arcades to at-home game rooms to online & mobile gaming

  2. How to handle the changing future of at-home games

Today, video games make up a $100 billion global industry, and nearly two-thirds of American homes have household members who play video games regularly. What changed from the early American billiard/pool hall days to the current mobile gaming industry?

What happened to billiard/pool halls? “A game of billiards requires a great deal of patience and practice.”

On one forum, the original poster comments, “Seems like are dying off. Seems like the actual good halls with real tables are going the way of the dinosaur.”

The implication is that the commenter believes that billiard halls are dwindling down. And, after paying homage to a popular billiard hall that was once frequented, the commenter finishes the post by unambiguously holding brands like Xbox, Snapchat, and the good ole’ “bookface” responsible for the riddance of game halls.

However, the reality is that billiard halls have been around for decades, and so have video games. From arcade systems to home consoles to handheld consoles and, most recently, mobile devices, gaming has had its fair share of makeovers, so to speak. The changed generation might have a big role to play in this.

According to an article published by The Circuit, Millennials (also referred to in the article as “The Microwave Generation”) is a generation that thrives on instant gratification. Children and young adults yearn for immediacy at the touch of a button and everything is just a click away.

Millennials are born and bred into a generation of rapid receipt of information and entertainment; it’s hard not to blame them. This thought process is created with a more connected environment. Children hold and navigate iPhones before they can read the alphabet, immediately weaving new relationships between them and the efficiency of an industrialized, technological world.

The reality is that these connections are the only form of communication that today’s adolescents have been exposed to.

One commentor put it simply: Seems there is just no interest in pool anymore. And this is especially true when it comes to playing a game of billiards that is said to require “a great deal of patience and practice.” Realistically, in a generation that thrives on instant gratification, drawn-out games such as billiards simply don’t fit the norm for the younger generations.

The solution (as one commentor writes): Get with the times… download the Billiard App on your phone.


Home gaming: “Arcades used to be on every street corner. Now we’re lucky if we can even find one.”

Everyone who grew up in the 80s or 90s has fond memories of visiting the local arcade and wasting quarters on classics like Rampage and Street Fighter. Nothing could beat the environment of an arcade — the hypnotic sounds of pinball machines, chiptune music, and laughing kids as you tried to beat the next level of Dig Dug.

The truth is that people loved arcade games so much that they wanted to take them home. As a result, developers made the wise decision to capitalize off of this need. The introduction of consoles lead to the rapid decline of arcades.

It took years to port an arcade game to a console in the 80s, and developers didn’t have the technology to create an accurate rendition. Things changed in the 90s when developers were finally able to create an exact replica of arcade games for consoles.

Once Nintendo ported games like Punch-Out!! and Bubble Bobble to the NES, people didn’t have to go to arcades anymore. As the sales of video games and consoles increased, more arcades began to close.

Read more about how technology changed the arcade scene here.

Too many video games… and a need for change.

The video game boom (caused by Space Invaders) saw a huge number of new companies and consoles pop up, resulting in a period of market saturation.

Too many gaming consoles, and too few interesting, engaging new games to play on them, eventually led to the 1983 North American video games crash, which saw huge losses, and truckloads of unpopular, poor-quality titles buried in the desert just to get rid of them. The gaming industry was in need of a change.

Real advances in “online” gaming wouldn’t take place until the release of 4th generation 16-bit-era consoles in the early 1990s, after the Internet as we know it became part of the public domain in 1993. In 1995 Nintendo released Satellaview, a satellite modem peripheral for Nintendo’s Super Famicom console.

The technology allowed users to download games, news and cheats hints directly to their console using satellites. Broadcasts continued until 2000, but the technology never made it out of Japan to the global market.

Mobile Gaming: “Another rapid evolution that has changed not only the way people play games.”

Perhaps the most interesting change in the video game industry is the expanding demographics of gamers. Since smartphones and app stores hit the market in 2007,  gaming has undergone yet another rapid evolution that has changed not only the way people play games, but also brought gaming into the mainstream pop culture in a way never before seen.

Rapid developments in mobile technology have created an explosion of mobile gaming. With more people playing games, creating demand for more immersive entertainment, and looking for easier ways to access games, the future of the video game industry looks bright.


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