by op-ed contributor
history of the gaming industry

When you think of video games, you probably don’t think of them as an industry on par with the auto or entertainment industries. You may not even realise that video games are an industry at all! But they certainly are and have evolved tremendously over the past fifty years. 

In this post, you’ll learn about the history of the gaming industry and why you should care as a gaming enthusiast in Nigeria.

History of the Gaming Industry

The gaming industry has come a long way since its humble beginnings. What started as a niche market has now exploded into a multi-billion dollar industry. So how did we get here? Let’s take a look at the evolution of video games.

Gaming began in an era before personal computers, but these would become part of the gaming industry just a few years later. 

In 1965, ‘Spacewar!’ became one of the first commercially sold arcade games. It was followed shortly after by ‘Computer Space,’ which is thought to be based on ‘Spacewar!’ and also had its public debut in 1971. 

That same year saw Nolan Bushnell build another hugely important piece in gaming history: Pong, which hit arcades in 1972 and sold over 70,000 cabinets that year alone. 

From there, gaming exploded across popular culture – but it wasn’t until 1980 that Nintendo’s launch turned things up a notch or two.

1970 – the 1980s – Early beginnings

The History of the gaming industry continued in the 1970s and 1980s with the first home console, the Atari 2600, which was released in 1977 and quickly became a popular device. More sophisticated consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Sega Genesis followed closely. By the end of the decade, console gaming became a major industry.

The gaming industry in the early 1980s was dominated by simple arcade games. These were simple, yet addicting games that could be found in public places like restaurants and laundromats. As technology progressed, so did the games.

With continued advancements in technology, game developers could make graphics more lifelike and create more complex storylines. It was also during these years that shooting and fighting games became a major part of console gaming. 

Super Mario Bros of the Mario Bros Franchise developed by Nintendo in 1983 made its way into Nigerian culture and since then, the gaming industry has been growing at a very fast rate. 

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The 1990s – First console gaming systems

The 1990s saw the advent of console gaming systems, which revolutionised the gaming industry. Console gaming systems allowed gamers to play video games on television, rather than on a computer. This made video games more accessible to a wider audience. 

One successful fighting game, Mortal Kombat, was released by Midway Games in 1992. During that year alone, it sold more than 4 million copies and was an incredibly popular arcade game. By 1993 it had been released for 16 different systems and was one of the highest-grossing arcade games ever made.

The 2000s – Digital downloads and mobile gaming

Mobile gaming refers to playing a game on a smartphone or tablet, which became popular in 2001 with Nintendo’s release of Pokémon on their Game Boy Advance handheld console. Online gaming refers to playing a game via an internet connection. Popular online games include World of Warcraft and League of Legends.

In recent years (2009-2014), digital downloads have become increasingly popular with gamers because they do not need to spend time driving to retail stores or waiting for shipments from manufacturers to arrive. Another big change has been mobile gaming which has brought gaming into a small device like your phone or tablet computer which can be used anywhere with an internet connection.

With this shift, it’s expected there will be more than 1 billion people playing mobile games by 2017. For gamers, the evolution of video games means faster graphics processing speeds, bigger worlds to explore, and more complex plots to follow.

This period brought lots of change as most Nigerians teens and adults could get access to mobile phones like Nokia C1, C2, etc.

For game lovers, websites like, and, were go-to sites where you could use 5Mb to download 3 games.

Games like Splinter Cell, Real Football, Need for Speed, Spider-Man could be downloaded and played on the mobile phone.

Read also: 20 Best Mobile games to boost your mood. 

In the 2010s – VR and AR become reality

Today, the gaming industry is worth an estimated $100 billion. That’s a lot of money, and it’s only grown in recent years. A big part of that is due to the evolution of video games. In the 2010s, we saw the rise of VR and AR gaming. These new technologies allowed players to immerse themselves in their games like never before. We also saw more and more mobile games being released, as well as AAA titles that pushed the boundaries of what a video game could be. It’s safe to say that the 2010s were a big decade for gaming.

The 2020s – Future tech predicted

With the advent of new technology, the gaming industry is only expected to grow in the coming years. Here are some of the ways future tech is predicted to change the gaming landscape.

Augmented reality gaming is predicted to grow in popularity in the coming years. Already popular with many gamers, such as those who play Pokémon Go and Ingress, AR uses advanced computer technology to interact with real-world environments. 

By layering graphics on top of reality, it makes an immersive experience that allows users to view elements from all angles without actually being there. AR differs from virtual reality (VR) because it doesn’t cut off sensory information from other parts of your body and instead involves you more fully in its environment. These technologies will allow players to participate in a much richer world than before.

There are also predictions that haptic devices like VR gloves will provide unprecedented tactile feedback to make gameplay even more immersive. 

These developments will be combined with emerging technological advances, like 5G mobile networks, which will have internet speeds 100 times faster than current networks and increase bandwidth capacity by 10 times. The possibilities for future growth are endless!

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It’s no surprise that when people think about gaming, they think about today’s latest and greatest games. However, it’s important to remember that new technologies will eventually be replaced by newer ones, just as we’ve seen happen with previous iterations of gaming. 

As a Nigerian video game enthusiast, you can see that the gaming industry has undergone a lot of changes from 2D games like Super Mario Bros, to 3D games like PUBG Mobile, to online games like Call of Duty, Minecraft etc.

As a game developer, you can also channel your talent into developing games that can be integrated into virtual reality platforms like Oculus Rift, Unity etc because that’s where the trend is going. 

Check out the following posts and learn a thing or two:

The Evolution of the Fintech Industry in Nigeria

Top 6 Exciting Technology Trends for Young People.

How does the Emergence of Web3 affect Africa?

About the Author

Abuchi Robert is a Freelance Content Writer. who writes content for financial, marketing and technology niches.

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Op-Ed are articles published by guest authors. We no longer accept guest posts. However, we are still open to adding long-term content contributors to our team of insightful writers. To write for us, please check out

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Avatar of justin wells
justin wells June 20, 2023 - 8:04 pm

very cool

Avatar of Babajide Kehinde
Babajide Kehinde June 28, 2023 - 10:24 pm

Are you a gamer, Justin? You can share your gaming experience with us.


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