History of video games/2020-2029
Trends[edit | edit source]
COVID-19[edit | edit source]
The game industry booms, as people hunker down at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some game retailers initially resisted closing down during lockdowns by declaring themselves essential businesses, to widespread criticism. Numerous high profile games are delayed due to COVID-19. Game development companies move to work from home, with some such as Square Enix planning to allow work from home after the pandemic ends. Animal Talking leverages the Animal Crossing: New Horizons as a medium to create a highly successful talk show that rivals and outcompetes traditional media during early pandemic restrictions.
The pandemic simulation game Plague Inc., which was originally released eight years prior in 2012, gains massive popularity, with the developers releasing an update to enhance the educational experience of the game in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The developer of Plague Inc. also donated $250,000 to CEPI and WHO to help fight the pandemic. The older 2008 flash game Pandemic 2 also experiences a surge of popularity.
In 2021 the Truck Simulator series held a virtual trucking event in solidarity with real truckers delivering COVID-19 vaccines. Players from around the globe organized a virtual graduation ceremony using Minecraft.
COVID-19 increased the public profile of virtual reality applications, potentially increasing interest in VR gaming as a result. AR gaming proved to help some seeking reprieve from isolation. As gyms closed, interest in Exergaming greatly increased by those looking to get fit while isolating.
Groups dedicated to tracking the availability of game consoles during the shortages sometimes assisted in finding COVID-19 supplies.
Games as a Political Vehicle[edit | edit source]
In the run up to the 2020 United States elections, politicians used online multiplayer games and game streaming to reach out to voters safely during the pandemic. The Biden campaign operated a custom Fortnite island with its own minigames. In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which supports user made content, digital yard signs were distributed by the Biden campaign. Though the official Trump campaign mocked campaigning in games, independent efforts by his supporters also made Animal Crossing signs, as well as using the massively popular game Among Us to promote their candidate. Following the election a video was posted of President Biden playing Mario Kart Arcade GP DX with Naomi Biden at Camp David.
Developer Welfare Concerns[edit | edit source]
Concerns for developer welfare continued from the previous decade into the 2020's.
Popular Genres[edit | edit source]
- Skateboarding 
2020[edit | edit source]
Apple vs. Epic[edit | edit source]
In August 2020, Apple and Epic begin disputing payment systems on the Apple App store, resulting in the game Fortnite being removed from the App Store. Coupled with increasing scrutiny from lawmakers, Apple reduces their cut from 30% to 15% for developers making under a million dollars annually, a move said to benefit indie game developers.
Ninth generation of video game consoles[edit | edit source]
The first ninth generation consoles launch in November 2020. 3D audio, SSD storage, and raytracing support is a common trend in this generation. Initially supplies of new PS5 and Xbox Series consoles are quickly bought up.
2021[edit | edit source]
Economy[edit | edit source]
GameStop Stock[edit | edit source]
Defying expectations, in January 2021 Redditors send the stock of the physical game retailer GameStop soaring over 1600%. This had broader implications for the overall market, as the reactions from some firms caused some members of Congress to begin looking into the event.
Blockchain[edit | edit source]
Major PC game distributor Valve banned games using blockchain, NFT, and cryptocurrency from it's distribution platform Steam by October 15th, 2021. Competitor Epic continued to allow such games on it's Epic Games Store.
Collectables[edit | edit source]
Collectables soared in value, with a sealed and graded copy of Super Mario 64 selling for over 1.5 million US dollars. This was the first publicized instance of a single copy of a video game selling for over one million US dollars. This was quickly surpassed, with an unopened copy of Super Mario Bros. selling for 2 million dollars.
Mint[edit | edit source]
The United States Mint mixed game collecting with coin collecting with the production of the manganese-brass 2021 New Hampshire American Innovation $1 coin, which honored Ralph Baer, and the development of the Magnavox Odyssey. The reverse of the coin was designed by artist Christina Hess and depicted gameplay generated by the Odyssey prototype, the "Brown Box". Upon release the coin proved to be popular among collectors, selling 785,700 coins in 6 days.
This is recognized as the first time the United States Mint created currency featuring a video game.
Other[edit | edit source]
2021 also saw increased investment in gaming companies by sovereign wealth funds.
Technology[edit | edit source]
Neural Implants[edit | edit source]
In 2021 the game Pong was used to demonstrate a wireless neural implant to the public.
Xbox 2042[edit | edit source]
In October 2021 Microsoft released a speculative concept of what an Xbox might look like in 2042. Technologies included in this work of speculative fiction included a holographic interface, a neural interface, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and quantum technology. The fictitious console were touted as being "90% smaller", while using 1 exaFlop of performance to ouptup 32k video in between 240 and 480 frames per second.
Nuclear Handheld Game Console Mod[edit | edit source]
Ian Charnas attracted much attention in 2021 with the development of a nuclear powered handheld game mod.
The modded console captured the output of 25 vials luminescent Trintium vials placed between 2 conventional solarphotovoltaic cells, and then stored the continuous 1.5 microwatts of output energy in thin film solid state batteries. The console was not capable of continuous operation, but could play a clone of Tetris for 55 minutes once every one to two months. The system power source should last for 25 years, though some media sources stated the system to have an operational life of 100 years.
Culture[edit | edit source]
For the first time, the Hugo Awards included video games as finalists in 2021.
The International Olympic Committee hosted their first esports event, the Olympic Virtual Series, beginning on May 13th, 2021. The opening ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games on July 23rd, 2021 included music derived from a number of video games.
Fall of Kabul[edit | edit source]
Following the collapse of the Afghanistan government, gamers in Afghanistan feared that games would once again be banned in their country.
2022[edit | edit source]
Gaming in Russia[edit | edit source]
Major console manufacturers left the Russian market, though they were not popular with gamers there due to a preference for PC gaming.
Notable Cross Platform Games of the 2020's[edit | edit source]
Umurangi Generation[edit | edit source]
A 2020 photography game set in an future apocalyptic Tauranga, New Zealand. The game was developed by a Māori developer, and was noted for it's themes of colonization from the perspective of the colonized.
Read more about Umurangi Generation on Wikipedia.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
External Resources[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
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- Park, Gene. "Joe Biden’s ‘Animal Crossing’ island was definitely made by a pro gamer". https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2020/10/16/biden-animal-crossing-island/?itid=sf_technology-video-gaming.
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- Needleman, Kirsten Grind, Ben Fritz and Sarah E. (16 November 2021). "Activision CEO Bobby Kotick Knew for Years About Sexual-Misconduct Allegations at Videogame Giant". Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/activision-videogames-bobby-kotick-sexual-misconduct-allegations-11637075680.
- "Riot Games agrees to pay $100 million in settlement of class-action gender discrimination lawsuit". Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2021/12/27/riot-discrimination-100-million-settlement/.
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- "The video game industry is closer to unionization than ever before". The Seattle Times. 27 December 2021. https://www.seattletimes.com/business/the-video-game-industry-is-closer-to-unionization-than-ever-before/.
- D'Anastasio, Cecilia. "Why 2021 Was the Biggest Year for the Labor Movement in Games". Wired. https://www.wired.com/story/2021-biggest-year-labor-movement-video-games/.
- "The sketchy economy that helps Roblox make its millions" (in en). the Guardian. 21 December 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/games/2021/dec/21/pushing-buttons-roblox.
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- Clayton, Natalie (2021-05-27). "Skateboarding games are back, here's why they're better than ever". PC Gamer. https://www.pcgamer.com/skateboarding-games-are-back-heres-why-theyre-better-than-ever/.
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- "U.S. Mint Honors Game Developer Ralph Baer" (in en). IEEE Spectrum. 21 July 2021. https://spectrum.ieee.org/us-mint-honors-game-developer-ralph-baer.
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- Timmer, John (9 April 2021). "The big advance in Elon Musk’s Pong-playing monkey is what you can’t see" (in en-us). Ars Technica. https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/04/the-big-advance-in-elon-musks-pong-playing-monkey-is-what-you-cant-see/.
- "Microsoft imagines Xbox 2042 with 1 exaFLOP processor". HEXUS. 29 October 2021. https://hexus.net/gaming/news/hardware/148579-microsoft-imagines-xbox-2042-1-exaflop-processor/.
- "Xbox's Vision For 2042 Is 32K Resolution, 480FPS Gameplay". GameSpot. https://www.gamespot.com/articles/xbox-vision-for-2042-is-32k-resolution-480fps-gameplay/1100-6497431/.
- Sheridan, Connor (27 October 2021). "Xbox 2042 video from Microsoft stars a tiny super-console that beams onto your contacts" (in en). gamesradar. https://www.gamesradar.com/xbox-2042-video-from-microsoft-stars-a-tiny-super-console-that-beams-onto-your-contacts/.
- "Could the Xbox 2042 Console Really Exist in Just 20 Years?" (in en). https://www.dualshockers.com/could-the-xbox-2042-console-really-exist-in-just-20-years/.
- Stephenson, Brad (28 October 2021). "Microsoft's Xbox 2042 concept video teases 32K video, 240 FPS, holograms, and more - OnMSFT.com". https://www.onmsft.com/news/microsofts-xbox-2042-concept-video-teases-32k-video-240-fps-holograms-and-more.
- "Next-gen Xbox 2042: 32K 480FPS perf with 1 exaFLOPs quantum processor". TweakTown. 27 October 2021. https://www.tweaktown.com/news/82423/next-gen-xbox-2042-32k-480fps-perf-with-1-exaflops-quantum-processor/index.html.
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- "This Tetris-Playing Game Boy Knockoff Runs on a Tiny Nuclear Generator" (in en-us). Gizmodo. https://gizmodo.com/this-tetris-playing-game-boy-knockoff-runs-on-a-tiny-nu-1847289167.
- "This Nuclear-Powered Game Boy Will Run for a Century" (in en). Hackster.io. https://www.hackster.io/news/this-nuclear-powered-game-boy-will-run-for-a-century-d3c1cb3c53e9.
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- "Nuclear Powered Game Boy" (in en). kottke.org. https://kottke.org/21/07/nuclear-powered-game-boy.
- "YouTuber Converts A Knock-Off Game Boy To Run On Nuclear Power". GameSpot. https://www.gamespot.com/articles/youtuber-converts-a-knock-off-game-boy-to-run-on-nuclear-power/1100-6493948/.
- "2021 Hugo Award game finalists include 'Hades' and 'Animal Crossing'". Engadget. https://www.engadget.com/2021-hugo-award-game-finalists-210602810.html.
- Horiuchi, Junko (28 June 2021). "IOC weighs addition of pandemic-boosted virtual sports to Olympics". The Japan Times. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/2021/06/28/olympics/ioc-esports-future-games/.
- Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Olympic games were held in 2021.
- "Olympics ceremony uses music from Japanese video games" (in en). AP NEWS. 23 July 2021. https://apnews.com/article/tokyo-olympics-video-game-music-8dbdfaff5de83c76b021d1dc0e25c871.
- McWhertor, Michael (23 July 2021). "The Olympic opening ceremony was full of video game music" (in en). Polygon. https://www.polygon.com/22590146/olympics-2020-games-athletes-parade-of-nations-video-game-music-dragon-quest-kingdom-hearts.
- "Republican senator Josh Hawley worries feminism has driven men to ‘pornography and video games’" (in en). the Guardian. 1 November 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/01/josh-hawley-feminism-men-pornography-video-games.
- Bacharier, Galen. "Sen. Hawley says American men are 'withdrawing' into pornography and video games amid 'crisis'". USA TODAY. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/11/02/missouri-republican-hawley-men-withdrawing-pornography-video-games/6251225001/.
- "Sen. Josh Hawley says liberals’ attacks on manhood are driving men to pornography and video games". Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/11/02/josh-hawley-pornography-video-games/.
- "Kabul gamers fret over favourite pastime with Taliban back in power" (in en). Reuters. 14 September 2021. https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/kabul-gamers-fret-over-favourite-pastime-with-taliban-back-power-2021-09-13/.
- Orland, Kyle (10 March 2022). "Russia’s console game market no longer exists" (in en-us). Ars Technica. https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2022/03/russias-console-game-market-no-longer-exists/.
- "Review | ‘Umurangi Generation’: A photography game that urges you to look closer". Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/reviews/umurangi-generation-photography-game-that-urges-you-look-closer/.
- Weidman, George. "Umurangi Generation, Colonialism, UAPs, UFOs and Alien Invasion Stories" (in en). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhcYszdVRsw.
- "Interview: Umurangi Generation's Developer On Fascism, Colonisation, And Donald Trump". TheGamer. 2021-06-05. https://www.thegamer.com/umurangi-generation-interview-fascism-colonisation/.