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Although it feels as though video games have been around forever, in the grand scheme of human history, they are still incredibly new.
The very first was a simplistic back-and-forth game called Tennis for Two in 1958, which could only be played using an early computer connected to an oscilloscope. However, it was the 1970s when video games really took off, when the likes of Pong and Space Invaders became available to the general public at gaming arcades.
Once the 1980s hit, it was time for games to move away from the arcade and into the home. This decade is when technology advanced enough to allow companies such as Nintendo and Sega to create games consoles like the NES and Sega Mega Drive.
The following period of time, throughout the 90s and 2000s, was something of a golden age for the console, with machines like Sony’s PlayStation, Microsoft’s Xbox and the N64 becoming sell-out hits around the world.
Of course, throughout this era, PC gaming was very much a popular pursuit too. It wasn’t until the internet became widely available from the mid-90s onwards that gaming began to follow the rest of the world online.
As you’re able to see through this short history of video games, technology and gaming go hand in hand. Advancements in technology have allowed manufacturers to create more and more complex games for customers to enjoy everywhere, from the arcade to their own home and now, with the rise of mobile gaming, even their morning commute.
So, what have been some of the most important steps in the development of gaming technology? Let’s take a look.
Moving Online and the Birth of iGaming
The name iGaming refers to the online industry which encompasses casino and table games along with sports betting. The poker boom of the early 2000s is widely credited with signalling the true birth of this vertical in the public sphere. The most popular game during that time was Texas Hold’em poker. However, since 2003, iGaming has gone from strength to strength, and platforms now offer all the best loved titles, from blackjack to roulette.
Roulette has an interesting history. It came about almost through an accident when French mathematician Blaise Pascal was attempting to create a perpetual motion machine way back in the 18th century. As such, the game is still strongly associated with France, although European and American versions now exist.
Roulette has seen great success after transferring over into the online realm and is still proving popular with players. Trusted platforms today offer several different variants of this classic, including High Roller and American. The basic premise remains the same, but online versions mean that you can play anytime, anywhere, without having to travel to a brick-and-mortar casino. This added convenience and range of options is why iGaming as a whole remains such a perpetual favourite amongst players.
The Rise of eSports
Moving another step further down this path, we come to eSports, an industry which involves playing video games competitively. The most successful and highest paid eSports athletes compete inside arenas filled with thousands of screaming fans whilst their efforts are broadcast live to even more people sat at home.
It might seem odd that an entire sector exists where people simply sit and watch others playing their way through a video game, but if you’ve ever sat down to watch a friend play a title like Pokémon or Red Dead Redemption II in their living room, you’ll know how thrilling and entertaining it can actually be.
eSports has proven itself to be big business. The market is currently valued at over $1 billion worldwide and has an estimated 234 million regular viewers. The advancement of streaming tech has been a big contributor to the industry’s growing popularity, with dedicated platforms like Twitch offering gamers a space to livestream content direct to fans. This is like a mini version of the live broadcast of a big eSports tournament like Dota 2’s The International.
Providing both fans and professional gamers with a chance to interact directly, this has grown the audience of eSports around the world, with prize purses at professional competitive events sometimes numbering millions of dollars.