The first playable video games were housed on huge multimillion dollar mainframes. Today, video games can cost millions of dollars and cover vast settings and narratives. This evolution from small team based projects to huge productions has caused massive changes in the way video games are created, the roles that teams play in the development of games, and how videos games impact the entertainment industry as a whole.
- [Voiceover] Video games have only been around for 30 or 40 years. In that short time span, video game production has gone through some dramatic changes. The first playable video games were housed on huge multimillion-dollar mainframes. Early in the history of video games, they were seen as specialized oddities created to prove technical concepts. Games have come a long way from their unassuming roots. Today everyone has access to video games. The formats of video games have expanded also from their humble early stages, a simple one-person arcade-based entertainment to massive multiplayer environments.
Consider that in the late 70s, Activision, Electronic Arts, and other pioneering companies would simply place their games in plastic bags with Xeroxed instruction pamphlets. These early marketing attempts were sold in small specialty stores because there wasn't a conventional way to distribute the games to players. However, as demand for video games increased, better marketing, production, distribution, and packaging methods were created. By the mid 1980s, video games for various console systems were sold in every major store in the world.
This insatiable demand for video games quickly transitioned from the best marketed games to an arms race of technology. No longer was it important to just market your game better than your competition, but one had to develop better graphics, faster frame rates, and longer, more involved storylines. Advances in the technology that drives game performance and graphics have grown at an incredible pace. Just consider that a smartphone one may play games on today is a thousand times more powerful than those multimillion-dollar computers that were first used to play games.
Improvements in technology will continue to directly impact how video games are made. But technology isn't the only influence on video game evolution. The driving force behind the continued dominance of video games as entertainment will be from the players of the games. As long as there are players that want new, better, more engaging games to play, games will lead the entertainment market. Here are some statistics to think about. In 1980, Atari, a pioneering company in the development of arcade and home-based consoles, becomes the fastest-growing company in the history of America.
There is a home gaming console of one type or another in 51 percent of all US homes. 4 out of 5 US households own a device to play games. The average age of a female game player today is 43 years old, while the average age of a male game player is 35. I think you'll agree video games aren't going away any time soon. The demand for more games and better technology has directly impacted how game development teams are structured.
Next let's take a look at the modern game studio.
- A brief history of video games
- The phases of game development
- Roles in game development
- Essential programming, art, design, and audio skills
- Choosing a game engine
- Funding options outside the game studio system