In the late 1970s, something happened that changed the cultural landscape for millions of children, and quite a lot of adults too; amusement arcades appeared.
Or to put it more accurately, arcades with video games opened. There have been amusement arcades going back to Victorian times, and perhaps longer. But, there was a revolution in the 1970s, and by the end of the decade, video games were big business.
The arcades didn’t last, however, and once gaming started to move into homes, and bedrooms, it lost its cool a little. Gaming became the preserve of geeks and nerds and was associated with lonely men playing in their mum’s basements.
According to Statista, there are around 3.2 billion gamers across the planet today, and there is a multi-billion dollar industry, with televised tournaments. How on earth did this happen?
When did video gaming begin?
Many people associate the beginning of video games with Pong. That simple game was the first time many people ever played an electronic game of any type.
That game was released in 1972 and was aimed at the home market. It was a huge success, and many children unwrapped Pong that Christmas. However, it wasn’t the first video game.
The Brookhaven National Laboratory reports that back in 1958, a game was invented called Tennis for Two on an analog computer attached to controllers and an oscilloscope.
Nevertheless, it was the 1970s and ’80s that saw gaming boom. Arcade games, consoles, and home computers arrived. But no one could have seen what was going to happen in the future.
How has gaming changed?
In the early 1980s, home computers arrived. The Sinclair ZX Spectrum was a huge hit in the UK and was responsible for spawning many a classic game. Some of the developers of these simple cassette-based games are still working in the industry today.
Home computers and consoles became more powerful. Side-scrolling platform games became pseudo-3D versions, graphics were slicker, and games became more realistic and complex.
The internet arrived, in-game purchases were added in some cases, and virtual reality became a, err, reality.
The gambling industry wasn’t slow to sport the potential either. And while there are pros and cons of using online casinos, they have grown into a huge industry in their own right.
How have online casinos entered the gaming world?
The traditional casino operators saw the success of video gaming online, and the possibilities of the internet, and started to make their own websites.
Web-based casinos exist for both computers, and for mobile devices now, and can be played anywhere.
Entering an online casino means being able to access a wealth of games such as blackjack or slot machines. Just as you could in a traditional land-based casino. However, casinos didn’t just stick with the regular games, they decided to get involved with video gaming too.
There is a state-of-the-art esports arena built and owned by the Luxor Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas. Spotting the rise of video gaming, the casino industry decided to get involved and monetize it in its own way.
How did video games become cool?
Video games have gone through an incredible evolution. At one time, arcades were the cool place to hang out, then video games moved to the homes and in some ways became the preserve of nerdy boys.
Now though, individuals of all genders enjoy playing video games. The internet helped massively in this regard. It allowed people to connect, and make friends across the world. YouTube lets players stream their gaming activity. Forums popped up, and platforms such as Steam arrived.
In the casino world, poker started to be televised, and this opened up a different type of gaming to individuals who had never tried it. Mobile apps for casinos arrived, and ones dedicated solely to individual tournaments for poker or blackjack.
Then esports came about. Teams were put together, and gaming became something that could be a career, and players could make money.
What games are televised and streamed now?
Not so long ago, if you wanted to watch poker online, you would have to tune into a channel on TV very late at night. Viewing figures were low. Now though, you can watch tournaments online, and there is a huge interest in this game.
Video games were never something that was televised though. They were very much an independent activity, perhaps shared with a friend in your own home. Then the internet came and changed all of that.
All manner of video games are available to be streamed online. Players like to watch streamers showing off their skills. Videos garner millions of views for such games like Fortnite, CS: GO, and PUBG.
Many streamers have millions of followers, and they can use platforms such as Twitch to monetize this activity. Even celebrities such as Jason Mewes are heavily involved in streaming his game time.
Is it safe to play games online?
Of course, with the advent of the internet, a new type of crime began. Once ecommerce and online banking began, individuals and gangs saw an opportunity to make money.
There are some risks in online gaming but mostly these come from cyberbullying, or from phishing for log-in details. Data breaches have happened, so being careful who you pass financial information on to, is important.
You can use things such as VPNs and crypto to remain more secure online when making any payments. Knowing how to find the best bitcoin casinos would help if you want to play in that particular area of gaming.
Largely though, using platforms such as Steam, a VPN, and keeping your details to yourself, should help to keep you safe online.
Gaming is now so popular that not only is Las Vegas trying to get involved, but the tournaments have huge prize funds.
Once upon a time, Manic Miner wowed children and teenagers in their bedrooms. Now though, you have The International for Dota 2 where over $40 million is paid out in prize money, and millions stream the event online.
Gaming is only going to get bigger, and this refers to all areas from video games, to VR, to online casinos, and esports tournaments.