Top 10 Innovations In Gaming History
From its commercial birth in the 1950s to its growth to 2 billion gamers around the world today, the gaming industry has certainly come a long way. Let’s take a look at the top 10 innovations in gaming history, so that we can better understand how the industry went from “technological oddity” to experts forecasting $196 billion in revenue by 2022.
THE FIRST ELECTROMECHANICAL MACHINE AND THE FIRST GAME SYSTEM DESIGNED FOR COMMERCIAL HOME USE
The first recognized example of a game machine was unveiled at the New York World’s Fair in 1940 by nuclear physicist Dr. Edward Uhler Condon, who designed and patented an electromechanical machine to play an ancient mathematical strategy game, according to “The History Of Gaming: An Evolving Community” for TechCrunch.
“However, the first game system designed for commercial home use did not emerge until nearly three decades later, when Ralph Baer and his team released his prototype, the ‘Brown Box,’ in 1967,” according to TechCrunch. “The ‘Brown Box’ was a vacuum tube-circuit that could be connected to a television set and allowed two users to control cubes that chased each other on the screen.”
The ‘Brown Box’ could be programmed to play ping-pong, checkers and other games, and it “was the birth of the digital gaming we know today,” according to TechCrunch.
PLATO, LAN NETWORKS AND THE INTERNET
The first example of players competing on separate screens occurred in 1973 with a strategic turn-based game for up to 8 players, which was created for the PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations) network system, according to TechCrunch.
“PLATO represents one of the first steps on the technological road to the Internet, and online multiplayer gaming as we know it today,” according to TechCrunch. “The real revolution in gaming came when LAN networks, and later the Internet opened up multiplayer gaming. Multiplayer gaming took the gaming community to a new level because it allowed fans to compete and interact from different computers, which improved the social aspect of gaming.”
Today, 3.2 billion people across the globe have Internet, and at least 1.5 billion people with Internet access play video games, according to TechCrunch.
“Since the early 2000s, Internet capabilities have exploded and computer processor technology has improved at such a fast rate that every new batch of games, graphics, and consoles seem to blow the previous generation out of the water,” according to TechCrunch.
CARDS, CARTRIDGES, CHIPS, MICROPROCESSORS AND RAM
When the first gaming console for the home market appeared in 1972, it relied on removable circuit cards, rather than the cartridges that became popular soon after, according to a “Hot chips: the uniquely digital story of video games” for Happy Mag. A few years later, significant technical improvements were made by 1975, courtesy of the microchip, according to Happy Mag.
“By the ‘80s, computers that were powered by microprocessors were the norm,” according to Happy Mag. “Right up until the present day, it’s easy to trace the capability gaming system by following a particularly crucial specification: Random Access Memory (RAM). The RAM spec is integral in gaming because it acts as the console or computer’s short-term memory.”
The RAM chip is responsible for handling the dynamic, fluctuating needs of game action, so the bigger it is, the smoother the gaming experience, according to Happy Mag.
Today, “microchips that previously housed dozens of transistors for controlling electrical signals now contain billions,” according to Happy Mag. “The speed at which CPUs and RAM chips are developed and released give PC gamers an advantage in tech stakes compared with their counterparts in console-land.”
PERSONAL COMPUTERS AND BASIC CODE
In the early 1980s, new home computer systems were affordable for the average American. They were advertised as the “sensible” option for the whole family, according to TechCrunch.
“These home computers had much more powerful processors than the previous generation of consoles; this opened the door to a new level of gaming, with more complex, less linear games,” according to TechCrunch. “They also offered the technology needed for gamers to create their own games with BASIC code.”
Not only did early computers allow people to create their own games using code, but they also paved the way for multiplayer gaming, according to TechCrunch.
WIFI & ROUTERS
“Today, games of all sorts can be played smoothly and easily virtually anywhere WiFi or cellular connectivity is available,” according to “How the Internet changed the gaming industry” for KnowTechie. “That means that games can be played during the daily commute while riding on the bus or train just as easily as they can be at home.”
“The best gaming routers 2020” for TechRadar recommends investing in a top-notch gaming router in order to make sure you have a reliable connection.
“The best gaming routers considerably minimize lag spikes during the most crucial moments and prioritize network traffic for you when you’re gaming,” according to TechRadar.
The best gaming routers also have technology that allows multiple WiFi devices to simultaneously receive multiple data streams and increase the network’s throughput, according to TechRadar.
“The proliferation of smartphones and tablets has fundamentally changed gaming,” according to “The 11 Biggest Gaming Innovations Of The 2010s” for Inverse. “Consoles and PCs are no longer a requirement.”
An Entertainment Software Association (ESA) survey found that 93 percent of American households own a smartphone, and almost half of those households use smartphones to play video games.
Mobile gaming (smartphone and tablet) brought in $68.5 billion, or 45 percent of the global games market in 2019, according to Newzoo.
“The release of the first 4K monitor back in 2013 opened an opportunity for gamers to experience gaming at a whole new level,” according to “1080p Vs. 4K Gaming: Is Gaming At 4K Worth It?” for WePC. “Since then, more and more 4K monitors have been released, and prices have dropped significantly (although it’s important to keep in mind that to run 4K graphics it also costs hundreds of extra dollars for the required GPU).”
Monitors running at 4K resolution have four times the pixel count as a similarly sized 1080p monitor, which means that you’ll have better overall clarity and image quality, according to WePC.
When it comes to 4K gaming, WePC recommends using a monitor that’s 27 inches or above to really take advantage of the technology.
VR (VIRTUAL REALITY)
“Virtual reality has existed in one form or another for decades,” according to “A Strange New World: Has Virtual Reality Gaming Lived Up To Its Promise?” for WBUR. “Since the term was coined in the 1980s, VR has been used to train pilots, assist doctors and help patients with PTSD, and the number of applications just keeps growing.”
The goal of VR gaming is to offer gamers a fully immersive experience, according to WBUR. Instead of only getting to watch stories play out, you’ll be able to live them through VR gaming.
“2020 is once again being declared to be VR’s make-or-break year,” says Robert Morgan, who creates VR games and experiences, in the WBUR article. “Now, people have been saying that since roughly 2014.”
“Voice controlled gaming has been around for a while, but the potential of using the technology in gaming systems has finally caught up to reality – computers are now able to easily recognize voice commands from the user,” according to “11 Unbelievable Advances in Gaming Technology” for Mental Floss. “Not only can you turn the console on and off using this tech, but you can also use voice commands to control gameplay, interact on social media, play selections from your media library, or search the web, all by simply talking to your gaming system.”
Gesture control technology allows you to play first-person shooter games, or simply interact with your device, with just a few waves of your hand, according to Mental Floss.
“Using a 3D camera that tracks 22 separate points in your hand, gesture control allows users to connect with their gaming experience by using the natural movements of your body,” according to Mental Floss.