The history of online arcade games

When the first arcade game was developed, it wasn’t expected at all that it will give rise to a market that will grow so massive one day. There are about 2.5 billion gamers in the world as of 2024. Games draw billions of dollars of revenue for the parent companies. It’s expected that the video game market will reach up to $300bn by 2025. Isn’t that impressive for a market that was never aimed at bringing such high profits to the table? In the next few minutes of reading this article, you’re going to learn how arcade games were born and why online arcade gaming is growing so fast in the modern world.

The history of arcade games:

The first video game program “Bouncing ball”, was developed by Charly Adama in the 1950s. It was actually developed in the late 1940s but was first demonstrated in 1951. It was created for the “Whirlwind curve”, which was the first computer out there that could display real-time video signals. 

In 1961, some MIT students including Steve Russel created a new game for a new computer at that time. This game was named “Spacewar” as it pitted two players against each other. 

In the early years of the 1970s, video games were originated with the launch of the famous good-old Arcade Gameroom. This form-factor was boosted in popularity by the release of Pac-man in the 1980s which was a huge success for the parent company and the industry. 

As computers went more mainstream, gaming did as well. People started gaming on their personal windows computers. Eventually, they were introduced with personal gaming consoles like PlayStation, in the starting years of the 21st century.

With even more revenue and progress flowing in, video games became more popular on handheld devices like phones and tablets as well.

Now, as of 2024, free-to-play online arcade games like Fortnite have taken over the industry and they are the norm now.

Why is arcade gaming growing so fast online?

At first, the arcade games used to make money by selling games directly to the players. But in the past couple of years, there has been a shift in the process of making money with games. Today, the gaming industry makes most of its money by adopting the free-to-play model. This may not sound very profitable, but let us explain.

Modern online arcade games use this model to attract millions of players. These games then offer special in-game purchasable items that add to the glamour of players’ profiles. These purchasable in-game items can offer special perks and powers to the purchasing player to attract even more players towards purchasing them. 

The most common purchasable items include skins, guns, cars, characters, and some others. Some online arcade games offer other types of purchasable items like Battle Passes, which grant a long-term advantage to the player. 

This approach helps derive billions of dollars towards the overall revenue of an online game. For example, out of the $2.4bn total revenue of Fortnite, over 1 billion was generated just by selling in-game items to the players.

The new player on the battlefield – cloud gaming:

In recent times, something new and fresh has been introduced in the gaming industry which might be able to change how people take a step towards gaming. Right now, to play online arcade games, you have to own a computer (a phone, a handheld gaming device, a console, or a PC) that meets the minimum system requirements for the specified game. Getting a computer which meets these requirements isn’t exactly a cheap solution as games are getting more and more demanding each year. 

That’s where cloud gaming comes in. During cloud gaming, you don’t have to own a computer that is able to run the specified game. Instead, all the heavy processing is done on a server computer. After the processing has been done, the output video is transferred to the screen you’re playing on. This ultimately means that you can play even the most demanding games on a screen with no processing power at all. 

The first few cloud gaming solutions are already available in the market. But, as all first-generation technologies are, these solutions have their own setbacks. 

One of the most prominent of these cloud gaming solutions is Google Stadia. It works exactly as described above but has some quality-of-life issues like a noticeable latency and occasional buffering. 

However, we believe, with the right push and the right updates, cloud gaming could change how gamers approach their gaming. This could result in even faster growth in the gaming industry in the near future.