Let me start by saying this book is thoroughly researched, well-written and often contains a narrative style that feels more fiction than non-fiction lending to a smooth, easy and immediately informative read.
The book discusses the formation of the gaming industry and starts by providing an in-depth, chronologically based look at the popular gaming consoles, business landscape and fads from 1965 to 1995 and focuses mostly on the associated hardware, initial formation of video games, formats (PC, Mac, cartridge, CD-Rom) and creation of genres rather than each individual title. Additionally, this book contains a ton of information about the global state of gaming, most notably what was going on in the UK, Europe and USSR/Russia during the 80s as well as China and South Korea during the late 90s and 2000s and features some incredibly gripping summaries of the 1983 gaming collapse and challenges creators of Ultimata Online faced in navigating a completely new open-world game design. If you're interested in the early years of gaming, this book is an absolute must-buy.
Where the book loses focus is in its discussion of the 1990s. After about 250 pages, the tightly woven, chronological narrative gives way to an unfocused mess of random games and ideas, such as Beat Mania, The Sims, and girl gaming culture. While these items are important to the overall history of gaming, it would've been nice to have them follow the structure that made the earlier chapters so enjoyable to read rather than jumping from 7th Guest and Doom to Rock Band in the span of about 40 pages without even introducing the PS2, let alone Xbox 360/Wii/PS3.
The book does finally regain its previous chronological form only to hurriedly discuss the Dreamcast through Xbox 360 in a scant 21 pages (about the same amount of time as spent on The Sims), most of which is dedicated to Pokemon and Grand Theft Auto. Sad to see a massive 15 years of gaming history crammed into such a short window. Ideally, this book should have simply omitted these rushed bits and called itself "The history of video games 1965 - 1995," leaving the history of modern gaming to a more interested author.
Furthermore, while the earlier years of gaming are pretty robust and informative, it's by no means a complete history as key ideas, systems, people and innovations are completely omitted such as the GBA, Game Gear, Neo Geo, DLC, Tiger Handheld Electronics, strategy guides, gaming magazines such as Nintendo Power, Call of Duty, Diablo, Atari's ill-conceived comback attempt via Jaguar and Lynx systems, etc.
In short, if you're interested in the early, golden-era of gaming, this is a must-buy, but keep in mind it's not close to being a complete or definitive collection of the complete history of video games.
**NOTE: This book is NOT 512 pages, it's 369. The remaining 143 pages are nothing more than a glossary and index and not part of the actual text.