Interesting Engineering | How Did We Come to the Playstation 5?
For those of you, who underestimate gaming and gamers, here is a fact that will blow your mind.
If you add up the annual revenue of both the film and music industries across the globe. This will still be nowhere close to the money produced by the gaming industry alone in a year.
With an expected earning of more than $200 billion in 2022, gaming stands far bigger than Hollywood and music in terms of market valuation.
Even if you’d look at the evolution of technology in games, you will realize that from Pac-Man to Counter-Strike and Fortnite, gaming has come very far.
Would you like to know how it all started in the first place?
Well, the very first video games emerged in the 1950s. They were created not for the purpose of entertainment but as tools to test the capabilities of the early room-sized computers.
Tennis for Two was the first computer game that used graphical elements. It was developed by American physicist William Higinbotham in 1958. Interestingly, a couple of years later, a group of students at MIT also came up with another video game called Spacewar. This was the first electronic game that could be played on multiple computers.
However, computers were still evolving then and they were far from the reach of the common man. This is why both Tennis for Two and Spacewar could be played only by researchers and people who had access to computers in Universities.
German-American inventor Ralph Baer realized this problem and he came up with a unique solution. He decided to harness the popularity of television, which unlike the computer was a very common home appliance then.
In 1972, he developed and launched a video game console called the Magnavox Odyssey. For millions of television users in the US, this was the first time they experienced the super-exciting world of video-game.
As expected, they went crazy for Odyssey, Baer sold over 700,000 units of his gaming console, and more importantly, he paved the path for a new groundbreaking industry. Odyssey’s success also gave rise to new players in the gaming market.
The same year, the newly formed company Atari released Pong, the video game that made coin-operated arcade machines a sensation among teens. The long-lasting success of Pong gave Atari enough confidence to launch their own console in 1977.
The Atari 2600 gaming console used to come with two joysticks and nine games. It introduced us to some of the most memorable video games of the 1980s such as Pacman, River Raid, Missile Command, and Space Invaders.
However, the industry was yet to experience a blast, and it happened with the entry of players like Nintendo, Apple, and IBM. By the 1990s, personal computers arrived in households, and this led to the biggest rivalry in the gaming industry — PC gaming vs. console gaming.
While Nintendo shook the market with popular console games like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. PC games like Civilization and Battle City showed gamers that PC gaming is there to stay forever. Plus, with the rise of the internet, people were not able to play online games on PC as well.
However, the competition became more intense with the launch of Sony’s PlayStation in 1994. This modern gaming console took the industry by storm with the release of games like Final Fantasy and Tekken 3.
PlayStation somehow managed to introduce the most addictive and unforgettable video games in human history, and soon it almost sidelined Nintendo.
However, this dominance didn’t last for long.
The launch of Microsoft’s Xbox and Nintendo’s Wii consoles in the early 2000s made gaming a more immersive, interactive, and fun activity. PC games also witnessed steady growth during this phase, and now gamers had multiple options other than PlayStation.
In the following years, consoles, computers, and games also evolved to a great extent. Users were now experiencing games with mesmerizing visuals, powerful sound quality, and captivating stories. All these developments established game development and distribution as one of the most profitable businesses in the technology sector.
According to an estimate, currently, there are more than three billion gamers in the world. The credit for this also goes to smartphones which have made gaming more accessible than ever.
While companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo still dominate the gaming industry, the underground rivalry between PC and console gaming also continues. Moreover, the pace at which games and related technologies are evolving, there is no doubt the gaming industry has a bright future.