Graduation Date


Document Type

Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Department or Program Chair

Jordan Lieser, PhD

First Reader

Jordan Lieser, PhD


Since their inception in the 1950s, video games have come a long way; with that advancement came more popularity, a growing demand, and an evolving culture. The first person shooter (FPS) video game genre and the competitive scene that was born out of it is an ideal case study to analyze this change over time. To understand how video games became so popular, one must examine their history: specifically, their development, impacts the games have had on society, and economic trajectories. Similar to traditional professional sports, video games experienced a cultural shift around their lucrative profit margins and unfolding professionalization of gamers as entertainers/athletes. Professional gaming started in the 1980s, where 10,000 participants competed in the Space Invaders Championship. Since then, video games evolved from being a casual past time to a career for some gamers. The resulting professional gaming community has attracted the attention of wealthy businessman, including a disproportionate number of iconic sports names, including the New York Yankees, Golden State Warriors, Magic Johnson, and Robert Kraft, who have all bought into eSports.

All of this is possible due to advancement in technology and significantly improved graphics which allows game developers to increase the amount of content and quality of their games. Without continual advancement in these areas, gamers start to lose interest, which means no economic and societal growth. For example, games released in the early 2000s such as Counter Strike, World of Warcraft, and Halo have utilized online features to allow players to compete with whoever they want from the comfort of home, making it easier than ever for gamers to hone their skills against others. Today, constant updates and new titles are now the norm for successful video game companies; marking this particular industry and accompanying culture as a microcosm for global society at large.