2010s in video gaming

2000s . 2010s in video gaming . 2020s
Other events: 2010s . Games timeline

The 2010s is the current decade of video gaming and the fifth decade in the industry's history. Thus far, the decade has become notable for producing the first truly "3D" games and consoles, introducing cloud gaming to consumers, and the rising influence of tablet-based and mobile casual games. The industry remains heavily dominated by the actions of Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, but it remains unforeseen how their dominance will be affected by the growing smartphone and tablet market.[1] A Yahoo article published in 2012 predicted that video game consoles will not be around in 2020, but will instead be built-in features to televisions.[2]

Consoles of the 2010s

Seventh generation consoles

Nintendo's Wii (2006) was the best selling console of the seventh generation, selling 100.90 million units.[3]

The seventh generation of gaming consoles entered the market in the mid-2000s with the release of the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the Nintendo Wii. These three consoles dominated the gaming scene throughout much of the early-2010s as well. Each console brought with them a new breakthrough in technology. The Xbox 360 offered games rendered natively at HD resolutions. In addition to HD games, Sony's PlayStation 3 featured a built in Blu-ray player. Nintendo, having opted out of the HD race, focused more on mobility and interaction. All three major consoles expanded their overall use by doubling as media centers, featuring Wi-fi internet connectivity, and allowing gamers to use apps.

Regarding the handheld market, Nintendo's evolving DS series of handhelds and Sony's PSP dominated the market throughout much of the late-2000s. The Nintendo DS introduced a dual screen, as well as touchscreen gaming. The PSP was Sony's first attempt at competing with Nintendo and featured multiple ports to other devices, improved graphics, and is known for being the first handheld gaming device to use an optical disc format.

Eighth generation consoles

The eighth generation of gaming consoles followed a longer than usual console cycle.[4] Nintendo was the first of the big three companies to announce their next generation console, doing so at E3 2011 with the unveiling of the Wii U, the successor to the Wii.[5] The Wii U was released in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand in November 2012 and in Japan the following month.[6] Reception to the console was mixed, with many reviewers criticising the limited choice of launch games available.[7]

Both Microsoft and Sony announced their offerings in the eighth generation in 2013. On May 21, just weeks before E3 2013, Microsoft revealed its "all-in-one entertainment device," the Xbox One.[8] Reaction among the press and gamers was mixed, with many gamers criticizing DRM-related restrictions and persistent internet requirements.[9] E3 in June saw Microsoft reveal a November launch date for the Xbox One[10] and Sony unveil its eighth generation console, the PlayStation 4. The Playstation 4 received an enthusiastic response from the attendees after it was revealed it would lack DRM restrictions and online requirements and have a cheaper launch price thean the Xbox One,[11] leading some commentators to declare Sony the winner of E3.[12] In the week following E3, Microsoft announced a reversal of the its online and used games restrictions after substantial negative feedback.[13]

Handheld gaming in the eighth generation was dominated primarily by the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita. The Nintendo 3DS is the first gaming device to feature 3D gaming without the need for stereoscopic glasses.[14] Sony's Vita is the successor to the PSP. Both systems are backward compatible. Nvidia also announced its intention to market a handheld gaming device.[15]

The eighth generation consoles are expected to face stiff competition from tablet and smartphone gaming markets,[2] online services and dedicated consoles[16] based on cheap technology[17] and free-to-play games or low cost downloadable content[18] away from big budget blockbusters,[19] as well as an increased interest in independent games promoted by popular social networking sites.[20][21]


Impact of the Great Recession on the video game industry

The financial crisis that struck in the late-2000s has affected the gaming industry.[22][23] Many electronic gadgets, not just video games, were perceived to be a luxury item.[24] Also, market shifts towards mobile and casual gaming has led to a dip in overall sales as well.[25]

New Dimensions

Following the release of James Cameron's long-awaited Avatar film, utilizing 3D technology became a staple movement to see in the production and services of television, as well as video games.[26] Nintendo became the first gaming device to feature 3D visuals without the need for special glasses with the release of their 3DS handheld.

In a related trend, Sony unveiled "dual-view" at E3 2011. Dual view technology provides gamers the capability of playing multiplayer games on the same screen without splitting it by overlaying the two images on top of each other.[27]

Cloud-based and subscription gaming

Cloud gaming, or sometimes known as gaming on demand, is a technology in which the actual game and saved data is stored on a company's server, and users play the game over a stable internet connection. One major advantage to cloud gaming is the absence of a compact disc or cartridge required for use.[28][29] In 2010, the OnLive gaming console debuted becoming the first console to exclusively feature cloud-based gaming. As the decade progressed, even some of the major players began to look into utilizing cloud gaming into their systems.[30][31] Currently, it is the fastest-growing segment of the gaming market.[32]

In 2013, Julie Uhrman began a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding for her cloud-based gaming console, the Ouya.[33] The Ouya outdid their goal by raising over US$8.5 million, becoming that site's second-highest-earning project to that date. It operates with technology from Android, and features customization to the device's cover.[34]

During a press conference at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, Sony unveiled PlayStation Now,[35] which is a subscription-based streaming service that allows the PlayStation 4 to play previous console titles over the internet. As of February 2014, Now is in closed beta, but is planned to be released to the public later in the year.[36] Sony had recommended users to have at least a 5Mbps internet connection speed for what they termed "good performance."[37]

Cloud gaming is expected, by many video game experts, to challenge the dominance of the major video game corporations, and may eventually lead to the decline of console gaming entirely.[38][39][40]

Tablet-based, smartphone, and social networking gaming

The iPad, as revolutionary as it was to the tablet PC industry, has also had a lasting effect on the gaming world as well. Apple's trademarked retina display has set such a high bar on graphic capabilities that it could go head-to-head with some of the major handheld gaming devices.[41] In fact, nearly half of the Top-25, paid applications on the iPad are games.[42] Despite not having a controller, Apple products and mobile games will continue to become a staple of the "casual gaming" market.[43]


A video game is used during a physical therapy session at the Naval Health Clinic in Charleston.

Ever since Nintendo released the original Wii in 2006, mobility and interaction became a major innovation to the gaming world. It encouraged activity with gaming beyond the traditional controller, and expanded the market to include the elderly and those interested in physical therapy.[44][45][46][47] Microsoft and Sony did not respond to Nintendo's motion sensor technology until 2010 when they released Kinect and PlayStation Move, respectively. The Kinect took further advantage of motion control by not requiring a controller at all.[48][49][50]

In late-September 2012, Yosh Engineering unveiled its new immersive motion capture, virtual reality program.[51] The company will showcase this feat further at a conference in November 2012.[52] The YEI 3-Space Sensor product line featured allows for highly accurate body and head tracking giving the wearer full freedom of mobility in a realistic virtual environment.[53] In a video posted to YouTube, Yosh Engineering showed that the technology is both easily adaptable to modern graphic requirements (for the demonstration they used the Unreal graphics engine[54]) and that the wearer has a freedom to move about through this 3D space.

In 2013, a Houston-based upstart named Virtuix began a Kickstarter campaign to develop the Omni, an omnidirectional treadmill that has potential applications for video games. Such a device, if ever released to the public, would allow a player to walk naturally in the virtual environment of a game.[55]

Violence debate is revived

In the aftermath of several mass shootings, namely the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, debate on whether or not there is a connection between violent video games and real-life violent acts re-emerges.[56][57][58] United States President Barack Obama assigned his Vice President, Joe Biden, to head a discussion with representatives for the media, gun, and video game lobbies in early-2013.[59][60] Several days later, Obama announced stricter legislation on guns and also proposed a $10 million study, to be headed by the CDC, on whether or not violent video games were encouraging violent behavior.[61]


According to the Entertainment Software Association, the average age of a person who plays video games in 2010 is 30.[62]

Notable video-game franchises established in the 2010s


In popular culture

Hardware timeline

The following gallery highlights hardware used to predominantly play games throughout the 2010s.

See also


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