People have been playing games since time immemorial. What to say if the first Olympic Games date back to 776 BC? Even then, the community had an appetite for competition, and over time the excitement for competition has not subsided. The principle of competition has not gone anywhere, but the format of friendly battles has changed.
In 2023, video games are ruling the ball of “remote entertainment”, which have taken over not only the gaming space but have complemented other industries and markets, such as gambling. It is quite logical that gaming and gambling are in harmony, as the two industries are based on excitement and the desire to compete. Competitive games, such as CSGO, have this principle as an absolute. That is why betting on CSGO is popular, and witness these csgo betting sites, which in the network are not countless.
However, the excitement was before CSGO. It was in the times of mass popularity of board games, allowing people to gather in the community for The International Heresa and live dozens of lives. Tabletop games, by the way, did the gaming industry an untold favor during COVID-19 and still continue to inspire today. The recently released Baldur`s Gate 3 is an RPG icon, which is predicted to be the best game of the year or even the best game of the decade.
Gaming has had and continues to have a long and interesting journey at The International and today we decided to dive into the stories and talk about how the industry went from rolling a die to clicking a mouse.
Birth of Digital Gaming
Video games owe their birth to the technological boom of the last century. With the advent of the world’s first mainframe computers and arcade machines, video games appeared.
In their early days, they were as primitive as the devices on which they were played. In 2023, gamers wouldn’t know about titles like 1972’s Pong and 1978’s Space Invaders. Later there was Pac-Man, Missile Command, Rally X, and dozens of other titles that became classics of the arcade era and progenitors of the industry.
With the continuous development of technology, computer games evolved. With the advent of PCs and consoles, gamers began to spend even more time in virtual worlds, and the games became more and more sophisticated: Doom, Wolfenstein, Contra, and others outlined the future of gaming.
They were later replaced by equally classic games that became canonical. StarCraft, Diablo, Warcraft, Quake – they were all classics in the 2000s, but more importantly, they became the basis for the competitive multiplayer games that captured the minds of gamers in the 10s and continue to hold their popularity to this day.
Rise of Online Multiplayer and Connectivity
We mentioned Counter-Strike at the beginning of this text for a reason. Valve’s shooter, based on the legendary Half-Life game, has become a household name for multiplayer games, although it is not the only one. Before CS people already played Quake, Starcraft, and Warcraft. The last one, by the way, became one of the most important games in general. The point is that thanks to the Blizzard legend gamers got acquainted with DotA, which at the peak of its popularity changed the esports industry, and also saw what MMORPGs should be like in the example of World of Warcraft.
Thanks to the development of the World Wide Web, gamers from different parts of the world got to play online, compete, and develop. Games have become more accessible, inclusive and definitely The International more interesting, and to play with each other from different corners of the planet all you need is a connection to The International internet and any device, including mobile devices.
Expanding Horizons with Mobile Gaming
When talking about the inclusiveness of video games, one cannot help but notice the influence of mobile gaming on it. It is much younger than classic PC gaming, but no less important in terms of the globalization of gaming itself. Like any technology of our time, mobile devices are constantly evolving and improving, which eventually allows gamers to get the experience of playing games using their mobile devices.
Sometimes mobile gaming acts as a saving anchor for gaming in general. The fact is that the cost of mobile devices for gaming is much lower than gaming PCs and therefore there are regions where mobile gaming is much more developed than its “relatives”. For example, in South-East Asia, where the share of mobile players is not equal to the number of PC and console users.
Technology giants understand the impact of smartphones on the industry and therefore create devices directly for games. Hence there is a wide variety of games on mobile devices: from RPGs to shooters, from stealth games to classic puzzles and puzzles.
The variety of genres allows players to compete across genres, which in turn opens up opportunities for mobile gaming to become part of the global esports ecosystem.
Emergence of Esports and Online Streaming
If games as such are based on the principle of competition, then it is not surprising that sooner or later, games turn into a platform for big competitions. For video games, this happened in the early 2000s.
At the time of the noughties, competitive games were still in their infancy, and they were played by avid amateurs in the basements of computer clubs and garages. The first Quake and Starcraft tournaments looked like this but evolved quite quickly. Each year Vent’s competitive computer game tournaments got more refined, and the epic year seems to have been 2011.
It was in 2011 that Valve, who got the rights to the custom map Warcraft 3 Defence of the Ancient introduced to the world a separate game – Dota 2. At the same time, the developers of CS, Half-Life, and L4D held The International – a tournament with a prize pool of 1,000,000 dollars. Before that such figures seemed unrealistic, and after the first TI most of the players were sure that such an event was a one-time event. Players, but not Valve, because soon The International became an annual event, and in 2021 TI set a record for the prize money in the history of the event: $40,018,195 was raffled off in Bucharest in 2021.
Cybersport has caught up with classic sports in terms of prize money, as well as in streaming and Entertainment. Streaming platform Twitch, created as a place to broadcast games, has quickly grown into a global platform, collecting millions of dollars of traffic on matches of esports tournaments of different calibers.
Twitch’s impact is hard to overstate. Thanks to its versatility Twitch broadcasts not only tournaments on esports disciplines but also events far from esports. It shows chess championships, and DnD sessions, and broadcasts some films and festivals.
Games have traveled a very long way in evolution from throwing a die to clicking mouse buttons. Technological advancements have played a key role along the way, allowing for a more immersive gaming experience through innovative technologies such as AI, cloud gaming, and so on. The thing about games, though, is that they never get old. Even with the availability of tricked-out gaming platforms, it’s always nice to get together with friends and play a game of your favorite board game.