The business of addiction: how the video gaming industry is evolving to be like the casino industry

The video gaming industry has transitioned from a group of backyard innovators to an industry of multi-billion dollar companies, hiring psychologists, neuroscientists and marketing experts to turn customers into addicts. The latest trend is the creation of “whales,” people so addicted to games that they spend their entire life savings to keep playing.

But the video gaming industry, today one of the fastest growing industries in the US, has more humble origins.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the early video gaming industry was dominated by backyard hobbyists. Sierra Entertainment - creators of the famous King’s Quest series - was founded by a husband and wife team. Gabe Newell, founder of Valve Software, was already rich from his days at Microsoft when he launched his hobby project Half-Life.

Collectively, the hobbyist companies of the early industry produced some of the most innovative genres of video game history – the adventure game, the real-time strategy, the city-builder, the role-playing game – all through experimentation and garage-style company development.

But in the last ten years something changed. Read more

Joshua Crook - The Conversation - 13 Sep 2017

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