The gaming industry is vast, expanding rapidly to become one of the biggest providers of entertainment worldwide which, considering it didn’t exist fifty years ago, is no mean feat. As it’s developed, the industry has split into subsections – console, pc, handheld, mobile, web-based – and they all work together to ensure the widest possible coverage for products. However, the gaming industry is also incredibly competitive, with different companies racing to out-do each other, and to release the next ground-breaking product which will have every gamer reaching for their wallet.
When a new innovation along, such as Nintendo’s Wii with its motion gaming, other companies are often quick to jump on the same technology, not wanting to be seen as ‘old hat’. Eventually, the idea is replicated enough that it becomes a new standard, and the next generation don’t remember a time before you could control your games with your voice, or explore a game’s world in the way you wanted to. For those who don’t want to forget, here’s a look at some of the biggest trendsetters in gaming that changed the face of the industry as we know it.
Not just a way to annoy your friends with constant requests for help and gifts of sheep, Farmville was a trailblazer as far as mobile and social gaming was concerned. It birthed the free-to-play model of gaming which is pretty much everywhere today and showed the industry how charging micropayments to complete milestones faster could make more money than an upfront purchase price. It’s simple yet charming design appealed to gamers and non-gamers alike and it introduced a whole new hobby to millions of people. Nowadays there are hundreds of similar games, whether based around running a farm, or just using their business model, and they all owe their success to Farmville.
There has never been a better time to learn how to play poker, the web-based gaming is now more popular than, and its quick evolution has proved that it’s not just children and gamers who care about the design of their games. Poker 8 is the newest client released by 888 Poker and it has totally changed the look and feel of their online games. In fact, by not appealing to a traditional gaming demographic, 888 had to really think about what players needed from the experience. The tables are now 3D and set on an angled perspective, with you always at the centre of the screen. It’s a big change from trying to find your name scattered amongst all the others around the edge of a flat table. 888 have also included customisable options like avatars to personalise the experience. Poker 8 feels more immersive, more glamourous, which is exactly how online poker should be. With plenty of competition in the marketplace, it won’t be long before other online casinos follow suit with upgrades of their own.
Grand Theft Auto III
This huge franchise was on its third game by the time the Playstation 2 came out, and the potential for better graphics and storytelling meant that Rockstar games had all the tools necessary to bring players a new innovation – open world gaming. Previous video games guided players through a set storyline, with actions to complete along the way. Everyone had the same experience, and replay ability was low. Grand Theft Auto III was loaded with missions, but the developers also made the digital world into a reactive and immersive playground. You could spend hours driving round the city, just stealing different cars, beating up random citizens, and shopping for new outfits. None of it progressed the storyline, and all of it was fun. It was such a huge success that other developers began to copy the idea, and franchises like Assassin’s Creed, Witcher and Borderlands took the idea to new heights.
Most solo games offer online options: Gears of War, Halo, Call of Duty and more let you battle with friends or strangers in specific arenas in modes like capture the flag and elimination. Fortnite took this idea and made an entire game out of it. Players are dropped into a world and left to battle to the death in a free-for-all melee, finding weapons and hideouts along the way. All for free. Again, taking a leaf out of Farmville’s book, Fortnite makes its money by selling exclusive gear and skins to players who want to purchase them, but the crux of the gameplay remains free. And to put a unique spin on the brawl genre, players are also able to build and craft defences as they fight, making it harder for the enemy to find you.
Some games have inevitably been more influential than others, but every new release endeavours to bring something new to the market. Whether it’s a twist on an old favourite or a completely original piece of gameplay, it’s difficult to predict which will leave a lasting impression on the landscape – after all, who would have thought that simulated farming would become so important to the modern gaming experience?!