The legend of Pong, the one-dot and two-paddle sensation that mimicked table-top tennis, was the granddaddy that led to the establishment of Atari and the video-game craze.
More than 8,000 Pong stand-up arcade cabinets were sent out into world in the two years following the games release in 1972. These addicting consoles brought kids in groves to the stores and restaurants that had the game. With pockets full of scavenged quarters, these youngsters played at the rate of $35-$40 per day, per machine.
From those innocent early days, the world has grown to 2.2 billion gamers, and 50 years of gaming has brought video game companies revenues close to $109 billion.
Pong put Atari on the map, and led to the creation of the mass-marketed game console. By 1977, 27.6 million Atari sets were in homes across the world, and gave Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs something to do while they figured out their computer company Apple. The two techno-geniuses built the Atari game Breakout in their spare time, and Woz says that the game influenced the design of the Apple II.
During the 1980s, Pac Man and Mario Brothers stole the hearts of every adolescent, who went on to buy the first Nintendo Gameboy in 1989, and the Super Nintendo in 1991.
Today, 43 percent of games are played on a mobile device, 31 percent of gamers use an at-home console, and 23 percent use a PC. More importantly, 71 percent of parents now believe that video games positively influence their children’s lives, which is quite different from the 1990s when parents consistently banned their children from games like Mortal Kombat and Doom as the debate regarding game violence and its affects on children reached its peak.
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