For many people, their first experience of software distribution and game server hosting will have been with Valve Corporation. Valve’s Steam platform has become the world’s leading digital distribution outlet for PC games. Launched in 2003, it was originally developed for Windows devices, but is now compatible with OS X and Linux too. As well as predating rival platforms (such as Electronic Arts’ Origin service and Ubisoft’s Uplay), Steam now handles online game distribution on every continent.
Graphical processors have come a long way from the days of monochrome CRT monitors and two-dimensional text displays. Modern computers and mobile devices are expected to be able to handle 3D graphics and high-resolution output, so a critical aspect of any game programming activity involves understanding which graphics cards to cater for and to recommend to customers.
It may be hard for younger IT professionals to believe, but computers were once incapable of rendering 3D graphics. Even if their rudimentary processors and minimal quantities of RAM had been able to process these complex visual commands, the monochrome CRT displays of early PCs and monitors were effectively unsuitable for 3D displays.
From pay phone to mobile phone, from video game to mobile game, the past few years have been nothing short of staggering when it comes to technology innovation and invention.
The video game market is still making waves, causing conversations and disrupting conventions. Today, games are played by an almost equal split between genders and age groups; they are seen as a tool for building strategic thinking skills and have become a valid form of entertainment and relaxation.
Video games have shifted across genre, industry, market and platform with impressive ease and reach. This shift has taken place from the standard PC game to the console, from the handheld to the mobile device, and from the eSports viewer to the player and the designer.
Many people may be unfamiliar with the term eSports. Not to be confused with eGaming (online gambling and betting), eSports is a burgeoning industry where computer games are played competitively for money. eSports involves serious money as well – the industry is presently valued at $450 million, which is impressive considering it’s effectively nothing more than tribes of young (mostly) men wrestling games controllers and assaulting PC keyboards.