如果说 90 年代见证了技术上的大幅发展和跃进，那么千禧年的开端则是商业结构发生巨变的年代。这段时期是市场整合与巩固的时期，游戏产业因此而被重塑。
先前，由 PlayStation 和 Nintendo 64 为首的第五代游戏主机成功地创下了百万级销量，极大地拓宽了游戏玩家的受众群体。如今，PlayStation 2 一马当先，带领第六代主机再次打破销量记录，最终成为了有史以来最畅销的游戏主机。然而，精美的 3D 画面造价不菲，成本飞速攀升。开发游戏虽然有着巨大的盈利空间，但同时也是风险极高的一门产业。
虽然这一时期的家用电脑也比之前更受欢迎，但 PS2 实在太过成功，完全盖过了电脑游戏的风头。少数几家 PC 公司也确实名利双收，如 Maxis，Valve 和 Blizzard，它们推出了《模拟人生（The Sims）》，《反恐精英（Counter-Strike）》和《暗黑破坏神 II（Diablo II）》，然而畅销排行榜的榜首还是牢牢被主机和掌机上的游戏所占据。
早期的 PC 巨头早在 90 年代后期就已经被收购了，如 Sierra，Brøderbund 和 Origin 等，而千禧年伊始严峻的市场环境也让许多公司开始走下坡路，包括 Interplay，SSI，Westwood Studios，DreamForge，Infogrames，MicroProse，Acclaim 以及 3DO Company 等等。
以上许多公司都被 EA 和 Activision 收购了，此举进一步巩固了它们在美国市场上占据的统治地位。与此同时，许多别的公司别无选择，只得纷纷关门大吉，宣布破产。当时的许多分析师对未来持悲观态度，声称“PC 游戏之死”即将降临。虽然 PC 游戏并没有消亡，但在 2000 年代它们的确发展得不好。
在日本市场，Square 和 Enix 合并为了 Square Enix，此举也是为了与不断上涨的开发成本抗衡。硬件方面形势也不容乐观，3dfx 做出了一些错误的决策，苦果便是被 Nvidia 收购，导致显卡市场完全被 ATI 和至今还健在的 Nvidia 两家垄断。
主机市场也发生了巨大的变革：SEGA 的 Saturn 和 Dreamcast 接连失败，不得不承担惨痛的后果，退出市场。然而，一位新的挑战者微软接过了这一棒，成为了冉冉升起的新星。
Xbox 主机是自从 1983 年美国游戏业大萧条以来首个取得了成功的美国本土游戏主机，对游戏业界的影响深远。Xbox 平台在文化方面和地理方面都与西方游戏开发者更为接近，为急于想要在游戏主机市场分一杯羹的公司提供了一个跳板。为了降低入行门槛，Xbox（“DirectX Box”的缩写）从一开始就设计得很容易上手，让经验丰富的 PC 游戏开发者能轻松理解和使用。
The rise of the
modern gaming industry
If the 90s was a time of great technological jumps, then the start of the new millennium was a time of drastic changes in the business side. It was a period of consolidation that reshaped the gaming industry.
Previously, the successful fifth generation of consoles, led by the PlayStation and the Nintendo 64, had sold millions and greatly expanded the gaming audience. Now the PlayStation 2 was spearheading the sixth console generation and breaking all sales records, eventually becoming the best-selling console of all time. But the development costs for fancy 3D graphics still kept rising at an alarming pace – making games was a highly profitable, but also extremely risky business.
While home computers were more popular than ever before, their games were outshined by the outstanding success of the PS2. A few PC companies like Maxis, Valve and Blizzard struck gold with hits such as The Sims, Counter-Strike and Diablo II, but the top-selling list was entirely dominated by consoles and handhelds.
Former PC giants like Sierra, Brøderbund and Origin had already been sold in the late 90s, and the harsh climate of the early 00s saw the demise of Interplay, SSI, Westwood Studios, DreamForge, Infogrames, MicroProse, Acclaim and the 3DO Company, among many others.
EA and Activision acquired many of these, further consolidating their position as rulers of the US market, while others had no choice but to close their doors and declare bankruptcy. Many analysts weaved grim prophecies about the “Death of PC Gaming” at the time and, while PC games didn't die, they definitely suffered in the 2000s.
In Japan, many companies would merge in order to handle the everincreasing development costs: Square would merge with Enix, Bandai with Namco, Koei with Tecmo and SEGA with Sammy Corporation. On the hardware side as well things were getting tighter, with 3dfx being acquired by Nvidia and ATI by AMD, leaving the graphics cards market as the duopoly between AMD and Nvidia that stands to this day.
One of the biggest changes happened in the console market: SEGA left the fight with heavy losses after the consecutive failures of the Saturn and the Dreamcast. But a new challenger, Microsoft, rose in its place.
The first successful US console since the Crash of 1983, the Xbox would have a major impact in the industry. Culturally and geographically close to Western developers, the Xbox was the gateway for companies eager to try their hand in the blooming console market. To ease them in, the Xbox (a contraction of “DirectX Box”) was designed from the start so that veteran PC developers could easily understand and work with it.
Signalling the start of a new era, the early 2000s was a time of change, and companies either adapted or died.