Game On: A Brief History of the Video Game Industry

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Did you know that the first videogame console was the Magnavox Odyssey, released in 1972? While basic and rudimentary, it would lay the foundations for what would become a multi-billion dollar industry. But do you know the turbulent past of the video game business?

From Pong to Playstation, we can help. Read on as we give our must-know history of the video game industry.

The Rise of Atari

The first video game was Tennis for Two. Created by William Higinbotham, its aim was to show off the power of technology. This was later followed by Space War, a creation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1962.

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However, one of the first commercial video games to be popular was Pong. By Atari, it was a rudimentary tennis game released into arcades. Its success led to one of the first major home game consoles, the Atari 2600.

The Atari 2600 was a runaway success, but this would also be its own demise. A speight of copycat consoles, along with games that cloned hits like Space Invaders and Pac-Man, would spell disaster.

In Christmas of 1982, console games and systems would be left languishing on shelves, causing the gaming industry to collapse. This came to be known as the Atari Shock.

The Home Computer

With consumer faith in console games destroyed, the home computer would take up its spot. Primarily, the new Commodore 64 would offer home gaming along with many other functionalities. People could now play games on the same systems they did their accounting and word processing on, ushering in the dawn of PC gaming.

Nintendo Entertainment System

Despite the popularity of the home computer, Japanese gaming company Nintendo had not given up. Their Famicom had been a huge hit in Japan, and they wanted to replicate that success in Europe and the US. It would be a huge gamble that would pay off.

They started by redesigning the console, to look more like a VCR player than a game system. Titles were rebranded and packaged as game packs and had strikingly minimalist sleeve designs. Finally, the console was named an Entertainment System, and each product was given a Nintendo seal of approval.

Nineties Video Game Industry Boom

Nintendo carried on this success into the nineties. Building upon their handheld Game and Watch, the Game Boy hit the shelves in 1989. It would become one of the toys of the decade, though it would not be Nintendo who owned the future.

A marketing campaign by company SEGA, aiming their Genesis console at more adult gamers, would make it one of the biggest consoles of the era. This was later followed by efforts from Sony, with their console known as Playstation.

The Modern Era

The next step for video games was internet connectivity. People no longer had to be in the same room as each other to play and compete. It also brought us new ways for people to consume games, such as buying from PlayStation Store or subscribing to services like Gamemine.

Current Gaming

The video game industry is currently bigger than ever. Advancements in technology such as VR gaming and a boom in esports are bringing in more revenue than ever. Combined with a lust for nostalgic retro titles, gaming is here to stay.

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