A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor. The word video in video game traditionally referred to a raster display device, but as of the 2000s, it implies any type of display device that can produce two- or three-dimensional images. Some theorists categorize video games as an art form, but this designation is controversial.
The electronic systems used to play video games are known as platforms; in addition to general-purpose computers like a laptop/desktop being used, there are devices created exclusively for the playing of video games. Platforms range from large mainframe computers to small handheld computing devices. Video games are developed and released for specific platforms; for example, a video game that is available to Steam may not be available to Xbox One. Specialized video games such as arcade games, in which the video game components are housed in a large, typically coin-operated chassis, while common in the 1980s in video arcades, have gradually declined due to the widespread availability of affordable home video game consoles (e.g., PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch) and video games on desktop/laptops and smartphones.
The input device used for games, the game controller, varies across platforms. Common controllers include gamepads, joysticks, mouse devices, keyboards, the touchscreens of mobile devices, or even a person’s body, using a Kinect sensor. Players view the game on a display device such as a television or computer monitor or sometimes on virtual reality head-mounted display goggles. There are often game sound effects, music and voice actor lines which come from loudspeakers or headphones. Some games in the 2000s include haptic, vibration-creating effects, force feedback peripherals and virtual reality headsets.
In the 2010s, the commercial importance of the video game industry is increasing. The emerging Asian markets and mobile games on smartphones in particular are driving the growth of the industry. As of 2015, video games generated sales of USD 74 billion annually worldwide, and were the third-largest segment in the U.S. entertainment market, behind broadcast and cable TV.
According to the market research firm SuperData, as of May 2015, the global games market was worth USD 74.2 billion. By region, North America accounted for $23.6 billion, Asia for $23.1 billion, Europe for $22.1 billion and South America for $4.5 billion. By market segment, mobile games were worth $22.3 billion, retail games 19.7 billion, free-to-play MMOs 8.7 billion, social games $7.9 billion, PC DLC 7.5 billion, and other categories $3 billion or less each.
In the United States, also according to SuperData, the share of video games in the entertainment market grew from 5% in 1985 to 13% in 2015, becoming the third-largest market segment behind broadcast and cable television. The research firm anticipated that Asia would soon overtake North America as the largest video game market due to the strong growth of free-to-play and mobile games.
Sales of different types of games vary widely between countries due to local preferences. Japanese consumers tend to purchase much more handheld games than console games and especially PC games, with a strong preference for games catering to local tastes. Another key difference is that, despite the decline of arcades in the West, arcade games remain an important sector of the Japanese gaming industry. In South Korea, computer games are generally preferred over console games, especially MMORPG games and real-time strategy games. Computer games are also popular in China.
Short for electronic sports, are video game competitions played most by professional players individually or in teams that gained popularity from the late 2000s, the most common genres are fighting, first-person shooter (FPS), multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) and real-time strategy. There are certain games that are made for just competitive multiplayer purposes. With those type of games, players focus entirely one choosing the right character or obtaining the right equipment in the game to help them when facing other players. Tournaments are held so that people in the area or from different regions can play against other players of the same game and see who is the best. Major League Gaming (MLG) is a company that reports tournaments that are held across the country. The players that compete in these tournaments are given a rank depending on their skill level in the game that they choose to play in and face other players that play that game. The players that also compete are mostly called professional players for the fact that they have played the game they are competing in for many, long hours. Those players have been able to come up with different strategies for facing different characters. The professional players are able to pick a character to their liking and be able to master how to use that character very effectively. With strategy games, players tend to know how to get resources quick and are able to make quick decisions about where their troops are to be deployed and what kind of troops to create.
There are many video game museums around the world, including the National Videogame Museum in Frisco, Texas,which serves as the largest museum wholly dedicated to the display and preservation of the industry’s most important artifacts.Europe hosts video game museums such as the Computer Games Museum in Berlin and the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment in Oakland, California is a dedicated video game museum focusing on playable exhibits of console and computer games. The Video Game Museum of Rome is also dedicated to preserving video games and their history. The International Center for the History of Electronic Games at The Strong in Rochester, New York contains one of the largest collections of electronic games and game-related historical materials in the world, including a 5,000-square-foot (460 m2) exhibit which allows guests to play their way through the history of video games. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. has three video games on permanent display: Pac-Man, Dragon’s Lair, and Pong.
The Museum of Modern Art has added a total of 20 video games and one video game console to its permanent Architecture and Design Collection since 2012. In 2012, the Smithsonian American Art Museum ran an exhibition on “The Art of Video Games”. However, the reviews of the exhibit were mixed, including questioning whether video games belong in an art museum.