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How we went from Pong to 3D simulated games millions can join

Gaming has a longer history than many suspect. For example, the prototype console was made already in the sixties. And early as the 1980s, a type of online gaming was envisioned.

Today, when millions of people join each other in playing video games online, this history may seem irrelevant and far away. But when we look more closely at it, we can see how everything we take for granted today slowly came to be the reality, and this, in turn, can also help us recognize future developments.

The dawn of Atari: From the ‘Brown Box’ to Magnavox Odyssey

The prototype console was created by Ralph Baer in 1967. All the essential elements were there, in a rudimentary form: the so-called “Brown Box” was a multiplayer video game system that could be attached to a TV set.

The product was licensed to Magnavox, and the company released an improved version of it to consumers in 1972. This new version was called the Odyssey, and it was the first commercially available video game console.

It would die out in the next few years, but one of its games inspired the first arcade video game Pong – created by Atari. It was immensely successful, and in 1975, Atari released a home version of the game, which also made an incredible amount of money for the company. Magnavox sued Atari for copyright infringement – More than $100 million that the company won in these lawsuits was much more money than the company earned from the original sale of the Odyssey console.

But the success of the game was so huge that there was plenty of money to go around during the next few years. Still, when Atari released a console called Atari 2600 (or Atari VCS) in 1977, the sales slowed down.

The crash and the war

Atari VCS started the next phase in gaming: the console had interchangeable game cartridges and joysticks – recognizable features of the consoles to come. But the console was made for only 10 very simple games, and people were growing tired of Pong.

But programmers around the world soon started creating new games for the console. And these games were by far better than those originally offered by Atari. When the Space Invaders were released in 1978, Atari VCS sales went through the roof: in 1980 two million units were sold!

This success led to an oversaturated game console market, which ultimately resulted in the crash of 1983. This phase lasted for a couple of years until the entry of the Japanese company Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) into the US market helped the industry to recover.

In 1989, NES found a worthy competitor in Sega – that year, the company released its 16-bit Genesis console. The competition developed into a full-on war when in 1991 Nintendo released its own 16-bit Super NES console.

PlayStation and online gaming

At first, in the next phase of gaming, Sony would become the sovereign ruler, with their 1995 release of PlayStation. Sega tried to thwart this success by releasing Saturn, its own CD-based console, five months ahead of schedule – but they were unsuccessful.

Sony’s great advantage was its ability to secure exclusive game titles. PlayStation 2, released in 2000, would become the best-selling console of all time.

In 2005 and 2006, when their PlayStation 3 started competing with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii, Sony finally got some challengers. By this time, immersive 3D online multiplayer gaming was starting to become synonymous with the gaming experience.

Such ideas existed already in the early 1980s when William von Meister introduced the CVC GameLine system. The system was able to download games through a telephone line. But this was their time to finally rule the gaming world. Online gaming changed the way people approach playing video games – millions of people started meeting each other online, and soon new subcultures were born. Today you have WoW, Dota, or Ender Scrolls communities among many others, and, for many, online gaming became an integral part of daily life and even an important component of one’s identity.

iGaming joined the ride

This affected the larger gaming industry as well. For example, casinos joined the new trend in game development in 1996, with the release of the first online casino – Inter Casino (still a very popular operator), whose idea was to gather all the popular casino games at one place online.

Soon after, other providers joined the ride. In the beginning, they were only simple hubs for online games of chance (where you weren’t even able to bet real money), but soon they developed into places where you can join real money casino games anytime you want, and anywhere you want. You could play these games in almost every country that had an internet connection, but mostly in Malta or Antigua and Barbuda.

Today, the laws around online gambling vary between the countries, but thanks to the internet and simple hacks you can use, you can easily join these venues no matter where you are located. So that customers from even very strict countries, such as Kuwait, can integrate online casinos into their daily life by using VPNs or anonymous payment methods. Websites like arabianbetting are useful because they not only give customers greater insight into the gambling laws in the region but also offer practical solutions. The online casinos in Kuwait page, for example, states that “gambling laws make it difficult for players to enjoy casino games online, and using a VPN is essential.’’ For Kuwaiti players, this means avoiding any oversight and getting around government-enacted site blockers and to that end, some of the VPNs recommended by arabianbetting are ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Surfshark, and PrivateVPN.

Overcoming these digital roadblocks has had a big impact on the surge in development of main-stream gaming, where technology is shaping the way players approach  online gambling.

In the end…

A lot of time has passed since the first gaming console was attached to a TV set for the first time in 1967. In some sense, many things remained the same; people still use consoles to play games, on a daily basis. But the thing that changed the gaming experience fundamentally was the online option.

When people started meeting each other, on a massive scale, on the Internet to play together, the basis for a new culture was created. This new culture is still developing, and we are able only to guess where exactly it will lead us.

Image by Foeoc Kannilc