Personal computers, mass-produced gaming consoles, and gaming consoles became common in commercial areas and chain restaurants in the United States in the early 1970s. A firefight, the first multiplayer human-to-human combat shooter, was created in 1975 thanks to technological advancements like Intel’s creation of the world’s first microprocessor.

Even though the gunfight was nothing like Call of Duty, it was a big deal when it first debuted in arcades. It had a unique gameplay design where one joystick controlled movement and the other the direction of shots, which had never been done before.

The Atari VCS, later known as the Atari 2600, was introduced by Atari in 1977, but sales were dismal, falling far short of expectations, with just 250,000 units sold in 1977 and 550,000 in 1978. The low sales were ascribed to several factors, including the consoles’ high price, the fact that Pong, Atari’s most well-known game, was getting old, and the fact that Americans were still getting used to the idea of having color televisions in their homes.

When it was first released, the Atari VCS was only designed to play ten basic challenge games like Pong, Outlaw, and Tank. However, programmers worldwide immediately discovered the system’s external ROM slot for game cartridges and created games that significantly excelled the console’s original design.

Atari 2600 sales reached 2 million units in 1980, heralding the start of a new era of gaming. The incorporation of the microprocessor also led to the development of Space Invaders for the Atari VCS in 1980.

Creating Games That Appeal To A Wider Audience

Due to the explosion in popularity of video games brought on by Space Invaders, there are now too many companies and platforms on the market. The 1983 North American video game industry collapsed, with huge losses and truckloads of unpopular, low-quality titles dumped in the desert to get rid of them. This was due to too many gaming systems and a lack of interesting, engaging new games to play on them. A revamp for the gaming industry was desperately needed.

Around the time consoles were receiving negative reviews, home computers like the Commodore Vic-20, Commodore 64, and Apple II started becoming more and more popular. Retailing at around $300 in the early 1980s, these new home computer systems were hailed as the “realistic” alternative for the entire family. They were sold as the “affordable” choice for the typical American.

Because the CPUs in today’s home computers are much more powerful than those in previous console generations, they enable new levels of gameplay with more complex, nonlinear games. Additionally, they supplied the tools needed to create their games using BASIC code. Even Donkey Kong was created by Bill Gates (a simple game that involved dodging donkeys on a highway while driving a sports car). Unexpectedly, the play was revived in 2012 as an iOS application.

The Switch from Consoles to Online Gaming

Before gaming giants Sega and Nintendo entered the internet gaming market, many inventors attempted to use telephone lines to transmit information between consoles.

William von Meister presented ground-breaking modem-transfer technology for the Atari 2600 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in 1982. The CVC GameLine allowed users to insert a cartridge into their Atari system and download software and games using their fixed telephone connection.

The device allowed users to “download” various video games from around the globe and play them for free up to eight times. Users could also download free games on their birthdays. Unfortunately, the device was not supported by the major game developers of the time, and the crash of 1983 dealt it its final blow.

The advent of the fourth generation of 16-bit-era consoles in the early 1990s marked the beginning of the actual “online” gaming revolution after the public domain status of the Internet as we knew it in 1993. In 1995, Nintendo released Satellaview, a satellite modem add-on for the Super Famicom gaming system. The technology allowed users to download games, news and cheats directly to their console using satellites. Transmissions continued until 2000, but the technology was never taken outside Japan.