The first video game was created in 1962 by some academics working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Called Spacewar!, this game pitted two players against each other in an intergalactic battle. While the graphics were pretty primitive on the PDP-1 computer, the game included physics calculations that changed the behavior of the craft as it got closer to the star in the center of the screen.
While an incredible achievement for its time, video games have moved on a lot since this early creation. So much so, they’ve grown in popularity, almost continually, ever since Spacewar!’s release 60 years ago.
According to some sources, more than 3 billion people played games in 2021, a rise from around 2.7 billion in 2020. That’s a big increase, even if you account for the rapidly-growing global population.
So what’s causing this increasing demand for gaming? Let’s examine the causes.
Marketing is an important tool for any business. It’s a way for them to reach new customers, make them aware of their products, and encourage them to buy.
Gaming companies are certainly aware of this as they have put a lot of effort into promoting their content in recent years, something that will have helped to grow interested.
We can see this clearly with online casinos. The iGaming market is incredibly competitive, so brands have to find ways to build their market share over their rivals. Many choose to do this by offering bonuses to new customers that allow them to make free or risk-free bets.
Other gaming companies have taken different approaches. Fortnite’s creator, Epic Games, has used merchandise deals to get its branding in a lot of places while making money. The company has also invested a lot in esports to get more gamers interested in playing their titles.
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Changing Monetisation Models
It costs a lot of money to create a game as teams of developers, designers, testers, project managers, administrators, and marketers have to work on it. This all needs to be paid for somehow, otherwise, the games won’t get made.
For most of the history of gaming, content has been monetized by selling the entire game up front in one go. However, in recent years, creators have been experimenting with new ways to get their work into players’ hands.
Known as free-to-play games, they let the players download, install, and begin playing for free. However, they are usually presented with the option to buy in-game items such as new skins, weapons, maps, and character customizations.
While many players choose to just ignore these options, a small but sizeable minority spends significant sums of money, allowing publishers to make more profit than they would with the traditional monetization method.
But since the games are free, it’s made them more accessible as people are more willing to try them out since there’s no longer a risk of spending $60+ on something they might not enjoy.
Another big driver of interest in gaming is the fact that players now have far more options than in the past.
Smartphones have been a big driver of this, though the casual games that they helped to popularize can now also be found on computers and consoles.
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These casual and what is known as “hyper-casual” titles are different from traditional video games in that they don’t require as much of a time commitment from a player. Instead of an hour-long session, they can be enjoyed in short bursts of even just a few minutes.
There are also more unique themes and ideas in casual games, far beyond the traditional shooting, platform, and sports games that you would have seen lining the shelves of video game stores in decades gone by.
So, with a much greater variety of content and more ways to play games, it’s easy to see why more choice has helped to popularize gaming.