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Innovation 14 Jan 2019

Nexuses and Opportunities in the Gaming Industry

The world of video games is an economic and creative reality. Its possibilities are not limited to its recreational aspects; it is an industry that employees a multitude of people. According to the latest report by Newzoo, gaming generated more than €100 billion in 2018. And in an article that cites the Newzoo report, CNBC points out that this represents an increase of more than 13 percent compared to the previous year. The gaming industry encompasses video games, games for mobile devices, and eSports.

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Perhaps the data and infographics provided by WePC will help us get to the bottom of this universe. WePC compiles the technological, economic, and creative dimensions of gaming that are only comparable to the phenomena found in present-day television series.

As the Encyclopedia Britannica states, “The idea of playing games on computers is almost as old as the computer itself.” Many of the first computer programmers tested commands to create computer games. In the middle of the last century, the American engineer Claude Shannon designed various programs to play chess. Much later, in 1997, an IBM computer called Deep Blue beat the world chess champion in a six-game match.

“The idea of playing games on computers is almost as old as the computer itself”

In 1958, William A. Higginbotham created a rudimentary tennis simulator to be used to demonstrate the possibilities represented by an analog computer. Another historical game is Spacewar! created at MIT in 1962 by Steve Russell using a Programmed Data Processor. The PDP was an 18 bit computer that used perforated paper as its storage platform.

Games continue to be a vehicle for demonstrating the power of computers and their capacity to interact with human beings. Computers designed specifically for gaming are the most powerful. And they are probably the best at completing other tasks, running programs for such things as architectural rendering, design, or animation.  One way or another, the video game industry is a first-rate computing laboratory: the most dynamic video games subject graphic and sound cards, monitors, peripherals, and processors to significant stress tests. They are something like what the Formula 1 is to the automotive industry.

There are more than two and a half billion video game fans worldwide. PC games will represent up to 47 percent of the gaming market in 2019. Smartphones and intelligent watches will account for 34 percent, and the rest will be divided between consoles, intelligent TVs, and virtual reality. The world of gaming has moved forward, adapting to the devices we use and the new possibilities they offer.

Gamers with Youtube channels have created a bridge between the worlds of communication and gaming, and there are still many opportunities to exploit at this point of convergence. Many gamers have developed pedagogical tools that teachers and professors at schools and universities are unaware of.

Cutting-edge, famous ventures and projects like the Magnavox Odyssey console (1972) or Atari Corporation (1972) with its legendary Atari 2600 made there mark on several generations. One of the first successful games was Pong (1972), a simulation of tennis or racquetball where a ball was hit across the screen. Several brands successfully took advantage of the come back of retro games with consoles such as the PlayStation Classic, the Sega Genesis, or the NES Mini.

Developing games for PCs flourished as the machines themselves evolved. The Altair 8800 (1974), the KIM-1 (1975), and the Apple II (1977) were some of the first computers that were used as platforms for video game development. Then came the IBM PC (1981), the Commodore 64 (1982), and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1982) which resulted in the publishing of hugely creative game catalogs. Good Old Games is a service that sells older PC games that are compatible with newer  operating systems and enterprises like Antstream continue to explore this market niche. Some years ago New York’s MoMA acquired several classic video games to be part of its permanent exhibition in architecture and design.

Video games have rendered a new aesthetic. Which – without question – has become part of our culture. From pixelated drawings of the early days to an ever more advanced perspective, developers have had to incorporate information design, narrative, drawing, soundtracks and even architectonic elements to their work.  Traditional animation and gaming have been natural influences on each others’ spheres; many video game animators have imported techniques from cartoon studios. Cuphead (2017), for example, is a tribute to the Disney of yesteryear and to early 20th-century jazz.

Video games have rendered a new aesthetic

The world of video games is a market in continual reinvention. After the market for game consoles declined in the early 1980s, new products were developed that created cultural references such as Super Mario Bros (1985). Until the arrival of present day platforms like Sony’s PS4 or the Microsoft Xbox. The worldwide market value for consoles in 2016 was 14.3 billion euros according to IDATE DigiWorld. Some of the gaming companies listed on the stock exchange are Tencent Holdings, Sony, Microsoft, and Activision Blizzard.

Given the complexity of some video games, even new professions have emerged. Screenwriters, designers, producers, sound technicians, programmers, animators, artists and, yes, testers participate in the development of the most sophisticated game programs. Collaborative development is characteristic of these projects.

It is estimated that the eSports market will generate 1.4 billion euros in 2021. Asia is the leading geographic region with 40 percent of the market, closely followed by North America, and trailed by Europe with 26 percent. These three regions make up 97 percent of the world market. One of the first eSport competitions,  Spacewar!, launched in 1972 at Stanford University in the United States. Another milestone event was the Space Invaders championship organized by Atari in 1980.

There are many games that have competitions arranged for them. One of the most preeminent tournaments is the global League of Legends which brought together 75 million spectators to its final in 2017. The Spanish Association of Video Games has published a white paper that explains eSports. The white paper cites interesting facts, such as "Katowice [Poland] is the European Mecca of competitive gaming."