If a week is a long time in politics, then ten years is a lifetime in video games. The industry is driven by the twin engines of technology and novelty: by making use of rapidly improving tools to satisfy a constant demand for the new and surprising. Competition is fierce, which has made companies and developers strive to outdo each other in terms of originality and innovation.
Rise of the independents
The business has also changed, with independent games developers rising from being perennial underdogs snapping at the heels of the major corporations, to being some of the most successful and forward-looking players in a multi-billion-pound industry. This has in turn led to greater variety and diversity in video games. Put simply, games are no longer just aimed at young men who like to shoot things.
There’s now room for games that focus more on storytelling, world building, character arcs, exploration and emotion, as well as simple, quirky games that are sweet and funny. Representation has improved, with more female characters and people of colour shown in game. At the same time, video games have gone global, reaching every part of the planet, every age group and every sector of society. They’re even, at long last, beginning to be taken seriously as an art form by mainstream critics.
Casino games are a hardy perennial of the gaming industry and were the first types of games to appear on the internet back in the 1990s. But they have also changed with the times, becoming more sophisticated and varied. Internet gambling has become more acceptable throughout the world, with the US gradually legalising it state by state, and the UK establishing one of the fairest regulatory systems yet seen.
The rise of virtual cryptocurrencies has also made itself felt in the world of casino games. You can now play amazing slot games- Gambling with bitcoins! This in turn has made casino games appeal to a new audience: younger, hipper and out to enjoy these games for the sheer fun they provide.
Games bought in shops have given way, for the most part, to downloads and streaming using the latest digital technology. At the same time the industry is now old enough to see a sizeable nostalgic demand for retro games, complete with authentically old-fashioned packaging. Platforms like Twitch and Steam have proved hugely disruptive in a positive sense. Don’t forget that although YouTube seems to have been around forever, it only launched in 2011, and has provided us with the phenomenon of YouTube gamers, bringing the appeal of video games to a whole new audience.
We’ve just scratched the surface of some of the major changes that have taken place in gaming over the last ten years. What’s more exciting is that some of the most significant changes may be just around the corner. Virtual reality seems like it’s going to finally live up to the hype, and the 5G mobile market presents a wealth of new opportunities for developers. The last ten years have been a heck of a ride, but,in the world of gaming, the next ten could be even wilder