History of Gaming: How Gaming Has Developed Since the 90s

History of Gaming How Gaming Has Developed Since the 90s

Although video or digital games have been around since the late 50s, the first boom of gaming occurred in the 90s. This was the time when arcades were popular, when the first consoles started to emerge, and when gaming tournaments became a thing. In other words, this period signalled the demand for this type of entertainment. It also inspired creative designers to pursue their vision, which led to the establishment of many studios that are giant corporations today. So, let’s see how gaming has developed since the 90s.

Early Days of Gaming (1990s)

As stated 90s brought about many gaming consoles that are well-known even today.

  • Sega
  • Atari
  • Nintendo
  • Gameboy
  • PlayStation 

It was a very competitive market, so we also had many console exclusives. These IPs became so iconic that new titles get released even today. Some of the most notable franchises that started in the 90s are – Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario, Pokemon, Crash Bandicoot, Zelda, Diablo, etc.

Transition to 3D Graphics and Expansion (2000s)

Throughout the early 2000s, new gaming trends started to emerge. There was much emphasis on 3D graphics, which fundamentally changed the level design. This proved to be detrimental for many IPs, especially fighting games. As we see today, the fighting genre has abandoned 3D arenas and sidestepping and has returned to their roots.

That being said, many popular genres today really took off in the early 2000s. Sports, first-person shooters, action adventures, RPGs, and simulators like the Sims. Additionally, access to the internet became more widespread, so the market started to pivot towards online multiplayer games.

Online Gaming and Connectivity (2010s)

In the 2010s, we had drastically different trends. As mentioned, there was a big emphasis on online play and social components. This is when we also saw a big boom in the online casino industry. Thanks to mobile play and available payment methods Interac casinos became very appealing in Canada. Additionally, competitive play and tournaments were easier to organize than ever. This has led to many eSport events and a big boom in online poker.

The game that really leveraged online connectivity was World of Warcraft, and it was at its peak during the early 2010s. We have also seen a rise in MOBA titles like DOTA and LOL, and the most played open-world sandbox game Minecraft.

Technological Advancements and Innovations (2020s)

Technological Advancements and Innovations

There weren’t many drastic changes compared to the 2010 era, but there were drastic hardware improvements. In the 2020s, we have better server capabilities, so the online games are far more stable and more feature-packed. The graphics are significantly more polished, and the writing standard is higher. This means that the industry is putting more emphasis on immersion to create better user experience.

During this period, the world has undergone a global pandemic and lockdown, which brought about a big increase in gaming activity. Finally, the emphasis on immersion is bringing more attention to VR. Although many of the releases feel clunky, we have seen some great VR adaptations from Capcom in Resident Evil.

Gaming Communities and Culture

Today, the gaming community is bigger and stronger than ever. This is, in no small part, thanks to streaming platforms. Big streamers managed to bring different communities together and spark interesting discussions about the industry and where it’s going. As a result, this is also the time when big studios are heavily criticized for their monetization tactics and design philosophies. The reason why some games get so much hate is because the fans really care about the original releases and now feel wronged.

Influence on Entertainment and Beyond

It’s evident that this form of entertainment had a massive impact on global culture. We have movies and TV shows that are inspired by popular releases. We constantly get references from the gaming world. Most importantly, there are so many businesses and career paths that are adjacent to this industry.

  • Development and design
  • Voice acting
  • Streaming
  • eSports coaching and playing
  • Game journalism
  • Community Manager

These are just some general descriptions, and the list is way more extensive. 

Future of Gaming

It’s hard to imagine we will get big and noticeable improvements in terms of graphics. There is a big emphasis on making releases cross-platform, which once again increases the player base and communities around certain games. There is also a big emphasis on porting AAA titles to mobile. So, devs want to make their content more accessible and compact. The only area where we see innovation is VR. Due to hardware limitations, we might not see a boom in this sector any time soon.


The industry has come a long way since the 90s, and it has evolved past a simple hobby. For many, playing games is their career path, and they have to follow what’s happening in the industry closely. It’s no longer considered immature to be a game enthusiast, and the industry has been recognized for its potential to tell stories, inspire collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.

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