The history of the gaming industry goes back further than you may think and can be traced to the early 1970s, but it is only comparatively recently that gaming has begun to impinge on mainstream culture. As the Internet and gaming technology have developed rapidly, throughout the first few years of the 21st century, the gaming sector has become a huge part of the modern economy, society, and culture.
In some parts of the online gaming sector, the mainstreaming of games and gaming platforms is being facilitated by changes in legislation. In the case of the US, Canada, and some other jurisdictions, lawmakers are making it possible for new gaming industries to be created.
This is most notably the case with the online sports betting and casino sectors. Reputable and regulated casinos, like Casino Wildz, are able to operate in a wider range of areas and, combined with ever-advanced casino technology, this is bringing online casino gaming to a growing customer base. However, this mainstreaming of casino gaming also brings with it concerns about the risk of gambling harm, which regulators are having to work hard to address.
More Games and More Choice
The wide choice of gaming experiences available to the modern player is part of the reason for the mainstreaming of gaming, and this sheer variety means that there is something for everyone, from the youngest players to the oldest. Right now, the digital online game service Stream offers over 50,000 games, and new gaming consoles are being developed all the time.
In 2021 alone, there were 1700 new games released for Nintendo gaming platforms, 725 for the various Xbox systems, and 980 for PlayStation. And as new technology improves everything from the quality of sound and graphics to the available storage systems, more people are being attracted to trying out a new game or console.
Generations of Gamers
The world of gaming arguably took off in the 1980s with the availability of personal computers, and it accelerated in the 1990s when the first consoles were released. Those who were gaming children and teenagers in this era are now into their 40s and 50s, and many are still active gamers.
Subsequent generations are even more immersed in the gaming world, and the combined effect of this generational shift is to make gaming and gaming culture ever more part of the mainstream. At this point, it is only the Baby Boomer generation who are not familiar with gaming.
This awareness of the widening demographics of gaming has led companies to develop a wider range of games and game genres, therefore appealing to a more diverse audience. This, in turn, has attracted new players to the gaming industry, creating a snowball effect and further embedding gaming in the mainstream of our culture and economy.
Gamification in the Workplace
The language of gaming has become so common that it is now found even in the workplace, where the concept of “gamification” is transforming many aspects of work, including training.
Companies are increasingly turning to game mechanics to enhance staff training. They are adding in elements of fun, such as badges, leaderboards, and other features, which both increase the effectiveness of the training and encourage engagement on the part of the staff. Evidence indicates that companies employing gamification in a thoughtful way can massively increase staff engagement, which leads to more effective training and a happier workforce.
New Forms of Gaming
The traditional model of gaming at home, via a desktop computer or a games console, remains the dominant form of gaming. However, new technology has been enabling different forms of gaming to become more common and affordable, increasing access to games.
The most obvious example is mobile gaming. Since the launch of the first smartphone in 2006, mobile gaming has been a rapidly growing market, and developers have worked hard to create games that will appeal to a wide cross-section of mobile users, since maximizing customer base is vital in a highly competitive industry. Mobile gaming is extremely popular and, along with other technology¾such as VR and AR¾is bringing gaming to new audiences and customers.
There are many factors that help to explain the mainstreaming of gaming in modern culture, ranging from the development of technology and generational changes to the adoption of gaming language and principles in the workplace. It seems likely that this trend will continue over the next few years as game developers push back the frontiers of the gaming world.