Applications of new technology begin life in industries remote from everyday consumers. They’re discussed in trade magazines, journals, and get minor coverage in major publications should they be deemed worthwhile. It is in these industries, though, that new technology advances further, becomes cheaper, and eventually viable in commercial settings for the everyday consumer. Eventually, they make their way into the lives of civilians.
If technology can be applied in the entertainment industry then excitement and expectations rise quickly. This is especially true for gaming. Recent advancements have quickly and drastically seen available hardware and titles go from primitive to extensive.
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Pre-Internet PC Gaming
Computer games in the 1960s and early 1970s were and had to be simple due to limitations of resources, interest from skilled programmers, and a lack of shareability. Eventually easier programming languages were widely adopted and files could be shared across multiple terminals hooked up to a mainframe. All this led to a large pool of game creators and developers. Online games began using a dial-up bulletin board system in the early 80s. These games were text-based due to how much data could be sent and processed via these systems.
Internet PC Gaming
By the mid-90s the internet was up and running and on it headed towards what we know today. This vastly improved the playability of games. Not only could they focus and develop games which had more of online focus, but, in general, the cataloguing of knowledge, distribution of games and discussion (via dedicated stores and social media), and development of programming took off, enabling the games themselves to improve immeasurably.
It was around the mid-nineties that online casinos started to form and become common. These are and were among the most successful and popular browser games. They grew considerably in a short period of time. Once Steve Jobs forced the world into using HTML5, they saw further growth as there was better accessibility (due to being played via browsers across devices, optimised so performance is consistent) and better security (integral for such an industry). Sites now have hundreds of games available – from online slots to live poker – all while further implementing new technology which improves customer experience as well as games. It is a multi-billion dollar industry.
Online gaming on consoles launched properly in 2002 with Xbox Live and more fully and successfully in 2005 with the launch of the Xbox 360. Halo 2 is one of the most successful games, critically and commercially, ever and was the first to really tap into multiplayer gaming, with 2007 being the year in which its sequel Halo 3, as well as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Gears of War, really consolidated the quality experiences that could be had. Multiplayer gaming is, now, arguably, the yardstick for which a game – often released on both console and PC – tends to be judged by. Being able to compete directly against others as well as play with your friends means gaming has become an essentially social pastime, with some games being online-only, like Destiny 2 relying on these two social mechanisms.
Cloud gaming is the next step. It relieves the pressure on the device to render and process games, and offsets it to remote servers, so players are streaming their gameplay. 5G technology will mean this can be done to a high quality with faster download speeds and a lower latency. Gaming will be more versatile. A player can begin playing a game streamed through her TV and continue it on her way to work on the bus, always online.