Video games are the newest, most popular form of entertainment in the digital world. Although they’ve been around for over half a century now, only recently have the once-bleeping formations of pixels forced their way in to the mainstream consciousness, collecting stars and fragging noobs to their hearts’ content. The gaming industry isn’t just a producer of video games these days however; it’s a tastemaker, an investor, an actor with the potential and the will to exert influence over comparatively dissimilar forms of entertainment. Today we live in the age of the game!
Video games have long been used as a means to squeeze a little more cash out of entertainment releases. Yes, there have been some notable flops – we all know the tale of E.T. and the video game industry crash – but titles released under franchises such as Star Wars, Lord Of The Rings and Jurassic Park have all contributed hugely to the overall popularity of these film series. The ability for a good tie-in game to keep the hype a-buzz for weeks after an individual has seen the film itself does a great service to these franchises.
This isn’t the only way these games influence other realms of entertainment though; they can actively sway trends in entertainments away from the traditional and physical. Take casinos, for instance. Up until 15 years ago very few people had enjoyed a game of poker or slots outside of a traditionally stereotypical environment. Then, suddenly, a huge number of gaming sites went online, offering individuals a chance to play poker, blackjack and even games about leprechauns, all from the comfort of their own homes. Today, sites like these are incredibly popular; 164,000,000 individual players will supposedly be playing via mobile devices by 2018, drastically changing the landscape of this particular entertainment.
The gaming industry also has the potential to alter the make-up of space-time itself! Well, not really, but it has been the main driver behind 3D, 4D and Virtual Reality technologies, propelling tech that would otherwise have only fringe uses in to the mainstream. We can now gesture, jump and jiggle our way through user interfaces, pop on pairs of V.R. glasses (originally created for gaming purposes) and go shopping for holidays. We can even smell our way through films, games and V.R. programs!
Behind all of these innovations was a plucky developer wanting to push the limits of gaming technology and in-game experience, and as a result now entire entertainment industries are in a state of flux. That’s a big effect from what was up until recently, a small business.