2010s in video games

The 2010s was the fifth decade in the industry's history. The decade was notable for producing the first truly "3D" games and consoles,[clarification needed] introducing cloud gaming and virtual reality to consumers, and the rising influence of tablet-based and mobile casual games. The industry remained heavily dominated by the actions of Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, but it remains unforeseen how their dominance will be affected by cloud gaming and the growing smartphone and tablet market.[1]

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

Consoles of the 2010sEdit

Seventh generation consoles (2005-2012)Edit

 
Nintendo's Wii (2006) was the best selling console of the seventh generation, selling 100.90 million units.[2]

The seventh generation of video game consoles entered the market in the mid-2000s with the release of the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii. These three consoles dominated the video game 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 the use of apps.

Regarding the handheld market, Nintendo's evolving DS series of handhelds and Sony's PlayStation Portable 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 in the handheld market and featured multiple ports to other devices, improved graphics, and is known for being the first handheld video game device to use an optical disc format.

Eighth generation consoles (since 2012)Edit

The seventh generation of video game consoles followed a longer than usual console cycle.[3] 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.[4] The Wii U was released in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand in November 2012 and in Japan the following month.[5] Reception to the console was mixed, with many reviewers criticising the limited choice of launch games available.[6]

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.[7] Reaction among the press and gamers was mixed, with many gamers criticizing DRM-related restrictions and persistent internet requirements.[8] E3 in June saw Microsoft reveal a November launch date for the Xbox One[9] 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 than the Xbox One,[10] leading some commentators to declare Sony the winner of E3.[11] In the week following E3, Microsoft announced a reversal of its online and used games restrictions after substantial negative feedback.[12]

The eight generation was further elongated with the release of the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X, both more-powerful variations of their predecessors capable of displaying video games in 4K resolution, as well as the Nintendo Switch, a hybrid portable-home video game console meant to replace the Wii U. The Wii U was discontinued following the release of the Switch in March 2017.

Handheld gaming in the eighth generation was dominated primarily by the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita. The Nintendo 3DS is the first video game device to feature 3D gaming without the need for stereoscopic glasses.[13] Sony's Vita is the successor to the PSP. Both systems are backward compatible. Nvidia also announced its intention to market a handheld video game device.[14]

The eighth generation consoles were expected to face stiff competition from tablet and smartphone video game markets,[15] 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]

HistoryEdit

Impact of the Great Recession on the video game industryEdit

The financial crisis that struck in the late-2000s affected the video game 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 led to a dip in overall sales as well.[25]

New DimensionsEdit

Following the release of James Cameron's long-awaited film, Avatar in 2009, utilizing stereoscopic 3D technology became a staple in the early 2010s in the production and services of television, as well as video games.[26] Nintendo released the first video game device to feature stereoscopic 3D visuals without the need for special glasses with the 3DS handheld.

In a related trend, Sony unveiled "dual-view" at E3 2011. Dual view technology provides 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 gamingEdit

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 on their systems.[30][31] In early 2012, it was the fastest-growing segment of the video game market.[32]

In 2013, Julie Uhrman began a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding for her cloud-based video game console, the Ouya.[33] The Ouya outdid their goal by raising over US$8.5 million, becoming that site's second-highest-earning project at the time. 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] a subscription-based streaming service that allows the PlayStation 4 to play previous console titles over the internet. As of February 2014, Now was in closed beta, but was planned to be released to the public later in the year.[36] Sony had recommended users to have at least a 5 Mbit/s 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 gamingEdit

As transformative as the iPad was to the tablet PC industry, it also had a lasting effect on the video game world as well. Apple's high-resolution displays and mobile graphics processors set a high bar on graphical capabilities that rivaled some of the major handheld video game devices.[41] As of 2014, nearly half of the Top-25 paid applications on the iPad App Store were games.[42] Despite not having a controller, mobile devices and games continued to become a staple of the "casual gaming" market.[43]

MobilityEdit

 
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 focus to the video game 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 September 2012, Yosh Engineering unveiled a new immersive motion capture, virtual reality program.[51] 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.[52] Yosh Engineering showed that the technology was both adaptable to contemporary graphic requirements[53] and that the wearer has a freedom to move about through 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.[54]

Growing Popularity of Let's Play videosEdit

The decade also saw the growing popularity of Let's Play videos on YouTube and Twitch, where viewers could watch streamers play through games. The YouTube channels of notable streamers such as PewDiePie, who became the first person to reach 10 billion views in 2015,[55] were among the most-subscribed of the decade.

Violence debate is revivedEdit

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-emerged.[56][57][58] Former United States President Barack Obama assigned his former Vice President, Joe Biden, to head a discussion with representatives for the 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]

DemographicsEdit

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

Notable video games of the decadeEdit

Notable franchises established in the 2010sEdit

Notes:

  • 1Game franchises that also accompany major film or television franchises.
  • 2Game franchises that are considered spin-offs of previously established franchises.

Highest-grossing gamesEdit

The following table lists the top ten highest-grossing video games of the decade, in terms of worldwide revenue (including buy-to-play, free-to-play, pay-to-play, digital purchases, microtransactions and subscriptions) across all platforms (including mobile, PC and console platforms). Among the top ten highest-grossing games of the decade, eight of them are free-to-play titles, five of which are published or owned by Chinese conglomerate Tencent.

Highest-grossing video games of the 2010s (as of December 2019)
No. Title Gross revenue Initial release date Platform(s) Genre(s) Publisher(s) Business model Ref
1 Dungeon Fighter Online (DFO) $12,000,000,000 August 2005[a] PC Beat 'em up, action RPG Nexon / Tencent Free-to-play [b]
2 CrossFire $11,068,000,000 May 3, 2007[a] PC / Mobile FPS, tactical shooter Smilegate / Tencent Free-to-play [c]
3 League of Legends $10,601,000,000 October 27, 2009[a] PC MOBA Riot Games / Tencent Free-to-play [d]
4 Fortnite $9,186,000,000 July 25, 2017 Multi-platform Battle royale, survival Epic Games (Tencent) Free-to-play [79]
5 Monster Strike $8,252,000,000 August 8, 2013 Mobile Physics, RPG Mixi Free-to-play [e]
6 Honor of Kings / Arena of Valor $8,120,000,000 November 26, 2015 Mobile / Switch MOBA Tencent Games (Tencent) Free-to-play [f]
7 Puzzle & Dragons $7,703,000,000 February 20, 2012 Mobile Puzzle GungHo Online Entertainment (SoftBank Group) Free-to-play [g]
8 World of Warcraft $6,849,000,000 November 23, 2004[a] PC MMORPG Blizzard Entertainment (Activision Blizzard) Subscription / pay-to-play [h]
9 Clash of Clans $6,634,200,000 August 2, 2012 Mobile Strategy Supercell (SoftBank Group / Tencent) Free-to-play [i]
10 Grand Theft Auto V / Online $6,595,000,000 September 17, 2013 Multi-platform Action-adventure Rockstar Games (Take-Two Interactive) Buy-to-play [j]

Best-selling gamesEdit

The following table lists video games of the 2010s that have sold at least 10 million copies. The list only includes buy-to-play titles, and does not include free-to-play or subscription titles. The company that published the most number of games with over 10 million sales during the decade was Nintendo, with fifteen titles on the list.

Best-selling video games of the 2010s (as of December 2019)
No. Title Units sold Initial release date Platform(s) Genre(s) Developer(s) Publisher(s) Ref
1 Minecraft 180,000,000[k] November 18, 2011 Multi-platform Sandbox, survival Mojang Xbox Game Studios [95]
2 Grand Theft Auto V 115,000,000 September 17, 2013 Multi-platform Action-adventure Rockstar North Rockstar Games [96]
3 PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) 60,000,000 December 20, 2017 Multi-platform Battle royale PUBG Corporation, Bluehole PUBG Corporation, Bluehole [97]
4 Mario Kart 8 / Deluxe 31,400,000 May 29, 2014 Multi-platform Kart racing Nintendo EAD Nintendo [l]
5 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 30,000,000 November 11, 2011 Multi-platform Action role-playing Bethesda Game Studios Bethesda Softworks [100]
6 Diablo III and Reaper of Souls 30,000,000 May 15, 2012 Multi-platform Action role-playing, hack and slash, dungeon crawl Blizzard Entertainment Blizzard Entertainment [101]
7 Terraria 27,000,000[k] May 16, 2011 Multi-platform Action-adventure, sandbox Re-Logic Re-Logic, 505 Games [102]
8 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 26,500,000 November 8, 2011 Multi-platform First-person shooter Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games Activision [103]
Red Dead Redemption 2 26,500,000 October 26, 2018 Multi-platform Action-adventure Rockstar Studios Rockstar Games [96]
10 Call of Duty: Black Ops 26,200,000 November 9, 2010 Multi-platform First-person shooter Treyarch Activision [103]
11 Call of Duty: Black Ops II 24,200,000 November 13, 2012 Multi-platform First-person shooter Treyarch Activision [103]
12 Kinect Adventures! 24,000,000 November 4, 2010 Xbox 360 Adventure, sports Good Science Studio Microsoft Game Studios [104]
FIFA 18 24,000,000 September 29, 2017 Multi-platform Sports EA Canada EA Sports [105]
14 Borderlands 2 22,000,000 September 18, 2012 Multi-platform Action-role playing, first-person shooter Gearbox Software 2K Games [106]
15 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 20,000,000 May 19, 2015 Multi-platform Action role-playing CD Projekt Red CD Projekt [107]
16 Call of Duty: Ghosts 19,000,000 November 5, 2013 Multi-platform First-person shooter Infinity Ward Activision [108]
17 Mario Kart 7 18,470,000 December 1, 2011 Nintendo 3DS Kart racing Nintendo EAD, Retro Studios Nintendo [109]
18 The Last of Us 17,000,000 June 14, 2013 Multi-platform Action-adventure, survival horror Naughty Dog Sony Computer Entertainment [110]
19 Pokémon X and Y 16,420,000 October 12, 2013 Nintendo 3DS Role-playing Game Freak The Pokémon Company, Nintendo [109]
20 Pokémon Sun and Moon 16,170,000 November 18, 2016 Nintendo 3DS Role-playing Game Freak The Pokémon Company, Nintendo [109]
21 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 16,040,000 March 3, 2017 Multi-platform Action-adventure Nintendo EPD Nintendo [m]
22 Uncharted 4: A Thief's End 16,000,000 May 10, 2016 PlayStation 4 Action-adventure, third-person shooter, platformer Naughty Dog Sony Computer Entertainment [112]
23 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 15,710,000 December 7, 2018 Nintendo Switch Fighting Bandai Namco Studios, Sora Ltd. Nintendo [99]
24 Pokémon Black and White 15,640,000 September 18, 2010 Nintendo 3DS Role-playing Game Freak The Pokémon Company, Nintendo [113]
25 Super Mario Odyssey 15,380,000 October 27, 2017 Nintendo Switch Platformer Nintendo EPD Nintendo [99]
26 Monster Hunter: World 15,000,000 January 26, 2018 Multi-platform Action role-playing Capcom Capcom [114]
27 Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U 14,910,000 September 13, 2014 Multi-platform Fighting Bandai Namco Studios, Sora Ltd. Nintendo [n]
28 FIFA 13 14,500,000 September 25, 2012 Multi-platform Sports EA Canada EA Sports [115]
29 Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire 14,230,000 November 21, 2014 Nintendo 3DS Role-playing Game Freak The Pokémon Company, Nintendo [109]
30 New Super Mario Bros. 2 13,270,000 July 28, 2012 Nintendo 3DS Platformer Nintendo EAD (Group No. 4) Nintendo [109]
31 Marvel's Spider-Man 13,200,000 September 7, 2018 PlayStation 4 Action-adventure Insomniac Games Sony Interactive Entertainment [116]
32 Super Mario 3D Land 12,600,000 November 3, 2011 Nintendo 3DS Platformer Nintendo EAD Tokyo Nintendo [109]
33 Animal Crossing: New Leaf 12,360,000 November 8, 2012 Nintendo 3DS Social simulation Nintendo EAD Nintendo [109]
34 Fallout 4 12,000,000 November 10, 2015 Multi-platform Action role-playing Bethesda Game Studios Bethesda Softworks [117]
35 Gran Turismo 5 11,940,000 November 24, 2010 PlayStation 3 Sim racing Polyphony Digital Sony Computer Entertainment [118]
36 Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! 11,280,000 November 16, 2018 Nintendo Switch Role-playing Game Freak The Pokémon Company, Nintendo [99]
37 New Super Mario Bros. U / Deluxe 10,380,000 November 18, 2012 Multi-platform Platformer Nintendo EAD Nintendo [o]
38 Horizon Zero Dawn 10,000,000 February 28, 2017 PlayStation 4 Action role-playing Guerrilla Games Sony Interactive Entertainment [119]
God of War 10,000,000 April 20, 2018 PlayStation 4 Action-adventure, hack and slash Santa Monica Studio Sony Interactive Entertainment [120]

Most-played gamesEdit

Top ten most-played video games of the decade (as of December 2019)
No. Game Player count Initial release date Platform(s) Genre Publisher(s) Business model Ref
1 Pac-Man Doodle 1,000,000,000 May 21, 2010 Browser Maze Namco / Bandai Namco Entertainment / Google Free-to-play [121]
Subway Surfers 1,000,000,000 May 24, 2012 Mobile Endless runner SYBO Games Free-to-play [122]
Pokémon Go 1,000,000,000 July 6, 2016 Mobile Augmented reality Niantic / The Pokémon Company / Nintendo Free-to-play [123]
4 Despicable Me: Minion Rush 900,000,000 June 10, 2013 Mobile Endless runner Gameloft / Vivendi Free-to-play [124]
5 PUBG Mobile 600,000,000 December 20, 2017 Mobile Battle royale PUBG Corporation / Bluehole / Tencent Games Free-to-play [125]
6 Fruit Ninja 500,000,000 April 21, 2010 Mobile Arcade Halfbrick Studios Free-to-play [126]
Temple Run 500,000,000 August 4, 2011 Mobile Endless runner Imangi Studios Free-to-play [127]
Jetpack Joyride 500,000,000 September 1, 2011 Mobile Endless runner Halfbrick Studios Free-to-play [128]
Candy Crush Saga 500,000,000 April 12, 2012 Multi-platform Puzzle King / Activision Blizzard Free-to-play [129]
10 Minecraft 480,000,000 November 18, 2011 Multi-platform Sandbox Mojang / Microsoft Game Studios Buy-to-play / free-to-play [130]

Most acclaimed gamesEdit

The following table lists the top ten video games of the decade based on their rankings on various publications' lists of the best video games of the decade. This list was determined by Metacritic, which used a points system based on how frequently certain games appeared on these lists and their rankings within the lists.[131]

No. Title 1st place 2nd place Other rankings Points
1 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 17 4 15 74
2 The Last of Us 3 9 13 40
3 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 2 2 21 31
4 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 1 1 23.5 28.5
5 Dark Souls 1 1 21 26
6 Grand Theft Auto V 1 0 19.5 22.5
7 God of War 0 1 19.5 21.5
8 Minecraft 1 3 12 21
9 Mass Effect 2 0 2 17 21
10 Red Dead Redemption 2 1 2 11 18

The following table lists the top ten video games of decade based on Metacritic's aggregate review scores.[131]

No. Title Average score
1 Super Mario Galaxy 2 97
2 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 97
3 Red Dead Redemption 2 97
4 Grand Theft Auto V 97
5 Super Mario Odyssey 97
6 Mass Effect 2 96
7 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 96
8 The Last of Us 95
9 The Last of Us Remastered 95
10 Red Dead Redemption 95

Most influential gamesEdit

The following is a partial list of games considered to be the most influential of the 2010s.

In popular cultureEdit

Hardware timelineEdit

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

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d This list does not include revenue before 2010.
  2. ^ Dungeon Fighter Online (DFO)
    • 2012–2016 – $6.8 billion+
    • 2017–2018 – $3.6 billion[65]
    • 2019 – $1.6 billion[66]
  3. ^ CrossFire:
    • 2011 – $1 billion[67]
    • 2012 – $1 billion[68]
    • 2013 – $1 billion[69]
    • 2014 – $1.4 billion[70]
    • 2015 – $1.11 billion[71]
    • 2016 – $1.1 billion[72]
    • 2017 – $1.605 billion
      • PC – $1.4 billion[73]
      • CrossFire Mobile$205 million[74]
    • 2018 – $1.453 billion[65]
    • 2019 – $1.4 billion[66]
  4. ^ League of Legends:
    • 2012 – $200 million[75]
    • 2013 – $624 million[76]
    • 2014 – $946 million[77]
    • 2015 – $1.628 billion[71]
    • 2016 – $1.7 billion[78]
    • 2017–2018 – $4 billion[65]
    • 2019 – $1.5 billion[66]
  5. ^ Monster Strike:
    • As of October 2018$7.2 billion[80]
    • November 2018 – $52 million+[81]
    • December 2018 – $68 million+[82]
    • 2019 – $932 million[83]
  6. ^ Honor of Kings / Arena of Valor
    • 2016 – $1.61 billion+[84]
    • 2017–2018 – $4.91 billion[65]
    • 2019 – $1.6 billion[66]
  7. ^ Puzzle & Dragons:
    • As of October 2018$7 billion[85]
    • 2019 (Japan) – ¥77.6 billion[86] ($712 million)
  8. ^ World of Warcraft:
    • 2010 – $1.23 billion[87]
    • 2011 – $1 billion[88]
    • 2012 – $986 million[89]
    • 2013 – $1.041 billion[90]
    • 2014 – $728 million[77]
    • 2015 – $814 million[71]
    • 2017–2018 – $1.05 billion[65]
  9. ^ Clash of Clans:
    • Up until March 2019 – $6.4 billion[91]
    • June 2019 – $76 million[92]
    • December 2019 – $158.2 million[93]
  10. ^ Grand Theft Auto V and Online:
    • 2013–2018 – $6 billion[94]
    • 2019 – $595 million[66]
  11. ^ a b Sales figure includes paid mobile downloads
  12. ^ Mario Kart 8 sold 8.44 million units.[98] Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sold 22.96 million units.[99]
  13. ^ The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sold 14.54 million units on Nintendo Switch[99] and 1.5 million units on Wii U[111]
  14. ^ Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS sold 9.54 million units[109] and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U sold 5.37 million units[98]
  15. ^ New Super Mario Bros. U sold 5.79 million units[98] and New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe sold 4.59 million units[99]

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Further readingEdit