Deep Dive
September 4, 2023

Gaming - Modern Source of Entertainment

The Blueprint

To begin with, it’s worth taking a step back and taking a look at how gaming as an industry emerged as one of the major sources of entertainment in modern society. Let’s see how the gradual digitization of society influenced the ways in which people spend their free time and how it played a crucial role in tapping into the competitive spirit that is an inseparable part of every human being.

The less technology within communities, the more time people spend with each other, especially on activities focused on entertainment. All it takes is to think about the times when there was little to no digital penetration within societies. How did kids spend their free time if not on playing various games and acting-out imaginary scenarios, pretending to be someone else. 

Isn't this the very essence of RPG games?

While role-playing games formed a small part of kids' activities, the majority of games revolved around competition, whether between individuals or teams. The competitive spirit is deeply ingrained in us; it's an innate trait driving societies forward. The desire to compete is hardwired into our nature.

Early Days of Gaming

As time passed, societies became more digitized, and kids gravitated toward digital forms of competition over traditional pastimes. Society was slowly evolving to become more digital.

In 1967/68, an intriguing prototype by Ralph Baer emerged - the Brown Box, a pioneer concept of a video game that allowed users to play on their TV screens. As Korg put it in Thor: Ragnarok - “The revolution has begun”.

The following decades brought diverse forms of gaming genres. The golden era of Arcade gaming took place in late 1970s and lasted to mid 1980s. At the same time, in 1977, Atari created its first version of Atari 2600, featuring games like Donkey Kong.

Then, in 1985, the NES burst onto the scene, changing the gaming landscape permanently. The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) brought forth iconic titles and series that we still revere today, such as Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, and Final Fantasy. Millions of kids became captivated by gaming, as it offered a novel realm of competition and entertainment.

These series, born in the late '80s, evolved into billion-dollar franchises. Such was the revolutionary nature of the market, and the future holds even more promise as our society continues its digital growth.

Modern Gaming

The new millennium ushered in the next stage of gaming evolution. PlayStation was born in 1994, Microsoft entered the game with Xbox in 2001, and Steam launched in 2003.

The success of titles like Halo and the Grand Theft Auto series fired up gaming studios' imaginations, propelling the era of AAA games. However, as high-budget games flooded the market, players began to feel increasingly isolated. The once-communal nature of gaming shifted, and players were seen more as "consumers of culture" than "individuals driven by competitiveness."

Questions arose, and some players began to realize they'd turned into isolated consumers instead of being integral members of a gaming community. Titles like World of Warcraft gained popularity as players sought interaction with their peers, craving connections with like-minded individuals.

The gaming industry responded by refocusing its efforts to provide players with what they genuinely craved, not what the industry presumed they needed.

Return of the Competitive Spirit

Around 2010, the notion of esports as the pinnacle of competitive gaming started gaining traction. Multiplayer games like DOTA 2, League of Legends, or Counter-Strike attracted a wave of new players seeking competition after years of solving mysteries and enjoying stories in genres like RPG.

Despite the competitive industry growth, the space for AAA titles like Uncharted or God of War is still vast as there are millions of players who love to immerse themselves in meticulously crafted worlds. The ideal example is the success of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the title that earned numerous awards, showcasing gamers' continued appreciation for well-written narratives and the chance to see the world through the protagonist's eyes.

The old-fashioned role-playing forms of entertainment have been with us for centuries and it seems we’re going to engage in those activities for longer than we think.

The point is: players eager for competition carved out their niche, gathering around esports titles and introducing the world to a new phenomenon.

For those who've followed esports Championships, the transformative changes over the past decade are hard to miss. What began in small studios is now held at world-renowned arenas filled with super-engaged fans and modest awards have transformed into multi-million-dollar prize pools for the winners.

This trend is here to stay and is only gaining momentum.

A prime example of the esports momentum is Riot Games, the creator of League of Legends, entering the FPS niche to compete with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Over the coming years, we'll witness more growth in competitive niches, not only those related to the esports stage.

The New Genre

The ascent of competitive gaming due to esports' growth led to the perception that esports titles lean more toward professionalism than enjoyment. Add the often encountered toxicity, where players misjudge their skill levels, and what you get is a significant number of players looking for something else… something more entertaining.

The solution: games focusing more on the entertainment side of competition, rather than aiming solely for professional mastery. The rise of Battle Royale games captured millions of players' attention, causing a niche craze that was initially hard to comprehend.

In 2017, games like PUBG: Battlegrounds and Fortnite stormed onto the scene, rapidly garnering massive playerbase. Although Fortnite gained an early lead due to its first-mover advantage, Apex Legends emerged as a strong contender, on the brink of overtaking the throne with its popularity.

While Fortnite and Apex Legends' design was targeted rather at a younger audience and PUBG was having immense issues with cheaters, Activision’s franchise took its shot and created CoD: Warzone which became a huge success for the studio.

The Conclusion

All these trends underscore one fundamental truth: players seek competitive games that let them reach the top and reap benefits in the process. Yet, the challenge lies in effectively monetizing the skills players hone along the way.

What if we introduced mechanics that turned mastering a game into real-world prizes?

Imagine a round of CoD: Warzone where you put just $1 on the line, and the prize pool, gathered from 100 participants, is distributed among the top three teams or individuals.

How would this shift transform our perception of competitive gaming?

Elympics aims to make this vision reality, transforming the competitive gaming landscape into one that rewards players for their dedication to honing their skills.

The future holds immense promise.

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