VIDEO GAME TECHNOLOGY: THE EVOLUTION

Video gaming has become a serious big deal.The video game industry has grown so powerful that economic downturns have not had any serious negative impact. In fact, the industry seems to be getting stronger. The industry makes at least $64 billion worth of sales annually.Video games has moved from being for just a few people to becoming one of the most sought after hobbies.A few other industries have tried competing but so far, none has been able to push them off from that spot. At first, it didn’t look like it would generate a lot of buzz but here we are, 40 years down the line and video games have only became stronger.

Everywhere you turn, you can be sure that you would find someone playing video games. It’s no longer limited to the young ones; there are now so many games target at people of all ages so no one is left out.The big question is, what’s so great about video games? I’ll tell you.The first interactive video game was first introduced in 1952 based on the 1940’s missile defense systems. It was called OXO. It looked like Tic-Tac-Toe and also uses a light pen.During that period, video games were put on University computer mainframes and were developed by individuals as their hobby. It was not really about selling because it was considered a hobby.

They didn’t really generate much attention and were soon forgotten.Subsequently, the arcade system and home console were developed and they came with joysticks. Galaxy game was installed at the Stanford University in 1971 but it increased to 8 Arcade games by1972.It was in 1979 that games became commercialized after color arcade games were invented. For instance, the 1972 Magnavox Odyssey home system, which used cartridges, were released into the US markets. Their cartridges would later become programmable.The Magnavox Odyssey home system also had jumpers, which allowed the user to enable/disable certain switches or components in the gaming unit.

By 1976, games were designed on to work with chips, which were inserted into the cartridges.This development now made it possible to have games library instead of programming games on the computer.The popularity of video games soared further in 1977 when Atari released the Atari 2600. This was to mark the start of 2nd generation games consoles. Atari released 9 games during the holiday seasons alone. 1980 marked the start of aggressive video games business when Mattel came up with Intellivision. Its graphics was more superior to that of previous generation video games.

By 1982, ColecoVision became a major competitor in the video games business by following the trend of producing games with better graphics. Unfortunately, even though video games wererelatively more popular and in various stores, the industry still crashed in 1983 because people were not too informed about games and there were too many options too choose from.

The industry eventually made a comeback in Japan. Nintendo Entertainment Systems (NES) was released with Super Mario Bros in 1985. This would eventually determine the future of games consoles because it came with a new controller using a D-pad and a few buttons.NES reigned for about 10 years but people were now demanding for games with better graphics, game play and better storage games for their games library. NES had its issues but it brought along with it hope for the games developers and the industry at large.

By this time, the Internet was making room for multiple player online games while home console developers were looking for ways to invent new and better games. By 1990, Sega Genesis was invented and released into the market. It initially slow but sales eventually blew up.Unfortunately, the release of games with better themes, 3D graphics and bigger libraries brought about several court issues. For instance, the courts claimed that some games were too violent or too real. The courts failed to see that this was actually a major selling point for video game players.

This eventually led to the introduction of age limit on different video games to monitor who had access to different games.By 1991, Super NES was released by Nintendo but according to Sega, it was too slow. This became a major factor for every game developer to consider when developing new games.

Subsequently, new and popular games came with fast processor speed, awesome graphics, large storage space and game play.In the 1980s, the issue of portability came up with developers looking for ways to make their games portable for users. So the first handheld LCD was released in 1980 but by 1989, Nintendo released Game Boy, which eventually made portable games console more popular.

Even though Nintendo and Sega were the 2 giants of the video game industry, PlayStation came on the scene and released its first games console. This was a major milestone because PlayStation used CDs instead of cartridges.It was a bit difficult for PlayStation to penetrate some markets until players and other game companies understood that CDs had more storage space than cartridges.

Nintendo released Nintendo 64, which was initially a huge success but because it still came with cartridges, it lost the attention of many companies. Nintendo later came up with GameCube, which was cd-based. Unfortunately, it failed because it had no adult oriented games.Sega, on the other hand, released Dreamcast in 1998, which was the pioneer for online gaming consoles because it came with a built-in online play modem. This also failed unfortunately.

In 1998 also, PlayStation released PS2, which was a significant move because PlayStation released a statement saying ‘Video games are the next computers’. This statement helped to bridge the gap between video games and computers while at the same time remaining separate.

This move was considered a threat to Microsoft’s CEOBill Gates and this made Microsoft branch out from Windows software to video games. In 2001, Microsoft released Xbox. It was a loss but it secured a huge spot for Microsoft in the video games industry.Nintendo and PlayStation decided to focus their attention on portable video games. So Nintendo released Nintendo DS with touchscreen while PlayStation released PSP, which has such great graphics that you could watch movies on the device. Both actually did well in the market but they didn’t beat the sales of the home consoles.

By November 2005, Microsoft made a comeback with Xbox 360 while PlayStation released PS3 shortly after. PS3 was more expensive because it integrated Blu-ray and Wi-Fi Technologies.In 2006, Nintendo finally made a comeback with Nintendo Wii. Critics expected it to fail but it marked the start of another unique invention in video gaming.

In recent times, there has been a huge revolution in the games industry. Practically every mobile device now come factory fitted games or with capacity to download games online. You will also see car owners installing game consoles in their cars. Even with this huge development and access to different games, Nintendo Wii’s player interaction mode still came as a good surprise to gamers. The good thing is that Xbox and PS3’s online multiplayer mode are still going strong too.

PlayStation came up with PlayStation Move by reinventing the wheel with their controller in 2010 while Microsoft released Kinect for Xbox 360, which is a motion sensor technology that doesn’t need controllers.This new development now make it easier for practically everyone, both young and old, to participate in video games. It even comes with sport fitness games useful for those who can’t afford to go to the gym. Both community and senior centers are not left out too.

Conclusion

The video games industry has come a long way but its still evolving. Now we can see stories coming alive in form of games and we have virtual reality games.All we can do is watch out for more surprises that games companies decide to introduce in their new games.