The Phenomenon of Gaming: Taking Over Generation After Generation

How does the gaming industry catch—and keep—our attention?

Inês Bernardino
Sep 22, 2020 · 6 min read

aming—be it on the computer, a console (PS, Nintendo device, Xbox, or any other) or even a mobile device—has undeniable longevity. While for many it’s just a free time hobby, for other it is a professional career.

But how does the gaming industry continue to capture and keep people’s attention? How can they reach such a wide scope of personalities, age groups, from all corners of the world?

If we take a closer look, it’s not just about playing games. People wouldn’t invest so much time if there weren’t other factors building up their affinity with playing games. And while it may be obvious, there are many teams that work together to create new games and to make the players’ experience the best it can be.

So what are the UX features that factor into gaming’s continued success?

It begins with the controls

Photo by Caspar Camille Rubin on Unsplash

When we start to play any new game, the first thing we go through is learning the controls and understanding how they function. It’s a pivotal part of the gaming experience that dictates whether people will continue playing it or not. If someone feels to frustrated with the control’s it’s likely that they’ll be giving up.

Nowadays, there are conventions with respect to controls that we use on video games, but throughout the years there has been a tremendous advancement and change on the controllers used.


Gaming companies, including competitors, follow the standard controls that people are already used to. Driving away from these conventional controls might lead to a major failure of a game, by making people’s experience more complicated and frustrating. To give more precise examples:

  • On PC we see the use of arrows or WASD to control characters;
  • On consoles, despite the fact that the controllers being different, we usually see the arrows commands on the left-hand side and the buttons on the right-hand side.

To make the experience even better, it’s essential to invest in a well-explained tutorial when the users first get to play the game. Telling people how to use a product is essential for them to get the most out of it.

The importance of storytelling

Screen Capture from The Last of Us II (Source)

laying games doesn’t rely solely on the rankings and winning. There are many game sagas that capture millions of players worldwide for their engaging stories, that involve people with captivating storylines and one of a kind characters.

Nowadays, there are games that focus heavily on this, taking players on a journey that almost feels like taking part in a movie. The concept of “cut scenes” is not as exact as it used to be. While watching the scenes play out, the players get the chance to influence the character’s “life” by making choices and fighting the adversities that come along, and that’s where the gaming aspect comes up.

Some examples that reflect this aspect are The Last of Us, Until Dawn or Uncharted.

As mentioned earlier, gaming is, for many, a hobby. It’s a means for escaping our actual world to explore new, fantastical realms, interact with different realities and, in some cases, learn new things.

Don’t forget copywriting

When playing any game, it’s essential that the story is seamlessly conveyed to players, so they can enjoy themselves—without getting caught up on sloppy copy.

To do this, it’s crucial to have good copywriting that engages users. This includes the character’s dialogue, the instructions that display on the screen, the written elements that make up the scenery, the interjections, among others.

If the wording in these is badly chosen it will possibly put off players and cause strain on growing and assuring a good experience.

Invest in graphics & visual

More and more, gaming manufacturers are investing in visual artists’ work and on the visual side of games.

Having a pleasing aesthetic, sceneries or detailed characters can make or break the experience of playing a game.

Screen Capture from Firewatch (Source)

With ever-more discerning users, the aesthetic factor has taken over in many fields. It has become one of the principal characteristics people look for when buying or consuming a product or service.

Having a great storyline and charismatic characters won’t be enough to make people want to play and replay. Having a visual experience that satisfies and entertains players is similarly fundamental.

The multiplayer experience

Champions from League of Legends (Source)

hen speaking about gaming there are some games that lead the charts and that most people know about, even if they don’t play such as League of Legends, Fortnite, or Call of Duty.

But what do these games have that make them so popular?

Besides the many great qualities of these games, from a playability standpoint, the multiplayer aspect gives them a unique appeal. Being able to get together with friends, or other international players, and interact with them while playing games makes them even more enjoyable.

From a user experience viewpoint, there are many things that have to be considered for users’ to get their best experience. Mic integration, multiplayer waiting rooms, chat features are some points that have to be taken into consideration when making a multiplayer game.

The experience of playing with others is only as enjoyable as the game makes it to be, and when things go smoothly and the gamer’s needs are met, it’s a sure win.

New technologies

Photo by Steve . on Unsplash

With the technology field moving forward every day and the conception and discovery of new gadgets, the gaming world and possibilities for player’s experiences are also moving forward.

A common example of the use of new technologies in the gaming dimension is the Virtual Reality glasses (like Oculus) that make it possible to transport people inside games, from a visual and listening standpoint. Another instance is the gesture recognition that games use to track a person’s movements such as Just Dance 2014.

With these new advances, we can see the possibility of games becoming more interactive and bringing a new approach to the use of controllers. The gaming industry is adapting and catering to the needs of more people, allowing them to choose from different experiences and get to play what and how they want.

Don’t forget the emotional impact

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Source)

What is an experience if it doesn’t tug at people's emotions? It’s not an experience.

Creating a good experience for players also has in mind what people will feel when playing the game, besides the primary feelings that awaken from winning or losing. The experience of playing games also comes from what people feel when they dive into them.

From action to horror, strategy, adventure, sports, or others, the gaming industry features a wide spectrum of types of games. Each of these is made to stimulate different emotions and feelings from people. This is a crucial consideration when buying a game.

For example, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a widely popular game that many people play to reduce stress and anxiety due to its soothing and happy environment.

All things considered, the gaming industry is diverse. Games in style, complexity, graphics, playability and stories.

But at the end of the day, when we play a game it’s to have a good experience and an enjoyable, transporting time.

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Inês Bernardino

Written by

Product Designer & Content Writer. I write stories about Design, Writing, Sustainability and other topics that spark my interest.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +794K followers.

Inês Bernardino

Written by

Product Designer & Content Writer. I write stories about Design, Writing, Sustainability and other topics that spark my interest.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +794K followers.

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