The video game industry is one of the most profitable industries on the planet. It makes billions of dollars every year as thousands of games are released to the public on various platforms. Video games started as nothing more than side-scrolling adventures with simplistic themes. However, they have grown into massive blockbuster productions that sometimes exceed the largest films in Hollywood. Some even contain elaborate online casinos.
Video games have existed in some form since the early 1950s. However, video games as we know them started to be released in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This was when consoles started to be released, and since then, the industry has grown immensely.
Ten years might not seem like a lot of time, but a lot has happened since 2010. At this time, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were still the most popular consoles. Even the Wii still had a large userbase, and we were three years from the release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. As a result, there has been a lot of room for growth in the 10 years that have come since.
Skyrim Sets the Bar for the 2010s
Before Skyrim was released, the video game industry was seeing incremental increases in graphics and game performance. Games like Halo and Gears of War were leading the way in terms of popularity and graphical improvements. However, it had been a while since a revolutionary game was released.
Everything changed when The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was released on November 11th, 2011. Skyrim world is an open world role playing game. The purpose of a game like this is to give the player as much freedom as possible. Open world games had been released in the past with lots of success. However, Skyrim took things to the next level.
The Lead of Development and Creative Director Todd Howard wanted this to be the most open game of all time. He wanted you to be able to look out in the distance, see a mountain, and then you could go to the top of that mountain if you wanted. Everything was possible in the fantasy world of Skyrim.
However, what truly made this game exciting was the graphics. Not only were you able to explore a massive, open world, the game performed exceptionally well with excellent graphics. Although the graphics have been improved over the years, they still hold up reasonably well. That cannot be said for every 10 year old game.
At the time, Skyrim was the ceiling for graphics in an open world game. Its release allowed developers to strive to be better than what they had done. This set the video game industry up for success in the years to come.
Eighth Generation Consoles Allow for Improved Graphics
The gaming industry is split up into two groups, console gaming, and computer gaming. Computer gaming, more often referred to as PC gaming, allows players to play at higher frame rates at the highest graphical resolutions. This is because PCs will always have higher processing power than consoles. However, gaming PCs are more expensive than consoles, and as a result, more people use consoles.
In light of this, video game developers are limited by the strength of the current consoles. Games with better graphics could be created sooner for PCs, but developers and designers do not want to ostracize the console gaming audience. As a result, graphic improvements are limited to when new consoles are released.
The major consoles of the 2010s were released in 2013. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 were released towards the end of the year, which allowed game designers to improve the graphics of their games.
The Witcher 3 and Red Dead Redemption 2 Set Records
The Witcher 3 and Red Dead Redemption 2 were released in 2015 and 2018, respectively. They are two of the defining games of the 2010s, and as a result, it makes sense that we talk about them together.
After Skyrim was released, gamers were looking for the next big open world game. Although Fallout 4 was more anticipated, The Witcher 3 blew it out of the water in 2015. The game was filled with a riveting story, exciting quests, fun gameplay, and revolutionary graphics. Not only that, but it had a fun gambling mini game for you to play in Gwent.
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Red Dead Redemption 2 was another open world RPG with some gambling aspects to it – players could try their hand at poker at various spots around the huge map. This is hugely popular for those who usually love chasing no deposit cash bonuses and free spins at the top online casinos. That is when they weren’t trying to find a legendary horse or shooting up a saloon. The game improved upon what was done in The Witcher 3 and took things to the next level. The graphics and gameplay are incredible, and to date, it is the bar for graphics and gameplay in video games.
Motion Capture Improves Graphics Drastically
Although it was first used back in 2007, motion capture started to become an integral aspect of the video game industry in the 2010s. Modern Warfare used a technique called photogrammetry to scan real-world objects into video games. This allowed developers to create more realistic depictions of objects and characters.
Notably, motion capture allowed for combat and action sequences to be more realistic. Actors and stuntmen would get suited up in motion capture suits before performing actions that would appear in video games. The developers could then take the motion capture and apply it to playable characters in their game.
Motion capture allowed games with lower budgets to improve graphically in ways that were not possible before. Particle effects, shading, and character models all improved thanks to motion capture.
Creative Graphical Styles Become More Popular
The 2000s was the decade where game designers were trying to make games look as realistic as possible. Their main goal at the time was to make it so you could barely tell the difference between a person in a game and real life. While many games prefer realistic graphics, and there have been major improvements on that front, many developers have transitioned into more creative graphical styles.
Nintendo was always the company that did not care about creating realistic looking graphics. They had their style, and to their credit, it has worked incredibly well for them. While Microsoft and Sony had surpassed them in popularity in the 2000s, there were some companies that saw the potential in what Nintendo and once dominated. As a result, some developers transitioned away from realistic graphics into a more cartoony style.
Blizzard is the company that really made a push in this area in the 2010s. This was apparent when they released the team-based, multiplayer first-person shooter Overwatch back in 2015. Overwatch was an immediate hit, reminding many old school gamers of Team Fortress 2. It had fun gameplay, and it allowed you to play with friends. However, part of what made it popular was its unique graphics.
Instead of pushing for realism like other popular shoots like Call of Duty and Counter Strike, Overwatch embraced a cartoony style. This allowed Blizzard to stand out in ways they could not have had they released a realistic looking game.
Although graphics improved a massive amount in the 2010s in terms of realism, it was not the decade’s defining aspect. Instead, it was developers losing their fear of creating games with interesting graphics with unique styles.