Video games are a big business. Total revenue for the U.S. video game industry reached $23.5 billion last year, a 5 percent increase from 2014. Behind every video game are programmers who help develop the product. Although programming languages vary by game, a few are the most popular. Here’s a look at the languages powering video game development.
Many Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo games were written with forms of assembly, including Super Mario Brothers.
- The NES Super Mario franchise sold more than 70 million units.
- Mario debuted as “jumpman” in Donkey Kong.
- IGN named Super Mario Bros. 3 the greatest game of all time.
C remains one of the most popular programming languages because of its general simplicity and its strong structure. PC gaming company id software used the C language for Doom. The doom franchise debuted in 1993.
- Named most influential first-person shooter of all time; the game pioneered the first-person shooter and 3-D game worlds.
- Doom’s music is largely influenced by metal bands such as Slayer, Metallica, Alice and Chains, Black Sabbath and more.
- It’s estimated that the original version of Doom had 10 million installations by 1995.
C++ is used in many of today’s operating systems, software, games and game engines. Due to the flexibility of C++, it makes games easily portable from PCs to consoles or vice versa. Notable games today using the language include World of Warcraft.
- 14 million copies of the original WoW have been sold since its launch.
- 48% of WoW’s subscriber base comes from Asia; 22% from the U.S.
- The WoW wiki has more than 100,000 articles.
Pronounced C Sharp
Developed by Microsoft in 2000, C# is popular among game developers. The Unity engine — a widely used game engine for PCs, consoles, mobile devices and more — is written primarily in C#. Angry Birds is among the notable titles programed in C#.
- Angry Birds is the third most popular iOS game of all time, just behind Candy Crush Saga and Fruit Ninja, respectively.
- The initial cost to develop Angry Birds was about $140,000, which is considered low.
- Four people spent eight months developing the game.
Java is in several ways a cousin to C#. They both have garbage collectors and are object-oriented languages. But Java is considered platform independent, meaning that it runs the same way on all platforms that support it. Success stories are indie hits RuneScape and Minecraft.
- The “alpha” version of Minecraft was created in just six days.
- Minecraft is the second best-selling game ever.
- Minecraft was originally titled “Cave Game.”