Technology and gaming have gone hand in hand since the conception of the latter industry decades ago. Advancements in tech have always had an impact on the development and progression of gaming, as we saw during the 20th century when games became much more realistic through 3D graphics and narrative-driven gameplay.
However, things began to progress at a rapid rate with the dawn of the new millennium, as technology became much more cutting-edge and innovation began to accelerate.
Here at the end of 2022, gaming has a global market value of over $180 billion and is on track to surpass the $500 billion mark by the end of the decade. The role that tech has played in this growth cannot be overlooked.
In this article, we’ll take a look at three key ways that technological advancements have helped the gaming industry progress.
Waving Goodbye to Disks and Cartridges
While we can now look back through the rose-tinted lens of nostalgia to those days when gaming experiences were bound to disks and cartridges, at the time, it wasn’t always a barrel of laughs.
Sure, the anticipation you felt waiting for your favourite game to load added a frisson to the overall gaming experience, but nothing could prepare you for the earth-shattering disappointment when you realised the brand-new game you’d just bought wasn’t actually compatible with your device.
One of the biggest impacts that the advancement of technology has had on gaming this century is digitalisation, which, in turn, has served to increase the appetites of players all over the world and driven the popularity of gaming to even higher levels.
Purchasing a new game is no longer an arduous or even costly affair; game distribution platforms such as Steam can give players access to games within a matter of seconds – and often at much more affordable costs than traditional cartridges or disks.
83% of all video gaming purchases made in 2018 took place online, compared to just 17% of sales that involved physical game purchases. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that this figure has undoubtedly risen significantly in the intervening four years.
Digital Tech Births New Markets
Of course, the consequences of the digitalisation of gaming have birthed several new gaming markets. Take iGaming, for instance. In this burgeoning global market, gaming technology has been used to modernise centuries-old games for a digitally-savvy generation.
Simulation games have been around since the early days of gaming, but recent advances in gaming technology – including more sophisticated RNGs (random number generators) – have made it possible for gamers to experience real-time casino games online.
iGaming is a hugely popular segment, currently estimated to grow to over $100 billion by 2025, and that’s all down to ongoing innovation and development in the technology that underpins it. Modern gamers can play games that are hundreds of years old, like blackjack, including hole card blackjack variants in brand-new digital formats.
Enter the Wireless Gaming Revolution
It really wasn’t all that long ago that even the most state-of-the-art consoles like the Xbox or PS2 still utilised wired controllers. It’s practically taken for granted today that any gaming device released on the market will come with wireless controllers as standard, but this was a major step forward during the early days of the 21st century.
Of course, six years later, the emergence of the PS3 and the Xbox One introduced the newer gaming generation to the efficiency and comfort of wireless gaming with wireless controllers.
No longer were gamers required to sit within a specific distance of their console – not always the most practical of things to achieve without a full gaming room set-up – and this, too, brought about a wave of wireless peripherals, from headsets to keyboards and chargers.
As with all things gaming, even the wireless tech market hasn’t stood still. The existence of a wire-free controller is not enough in today’s gaming world, so manufacturers have pushed the development of the tech even further to achieve near-zero latency in connected devices.