The first-person perspective steps up the level of immersion in games, and allows the player to feel like they are the character. Traditionally, the use of a first-person perspective was largely limited to certain genres such as RPGs, adventure games, visual novels, driving/racing games, arcade rail shooters, and light-gun shooters.
First-person shooter gameplay had its first steps into the mainstream with id Software's Wolfenstein 3D. Later it was used in the classic game, Doom, which made great strides in first-person shooter gameplay and, along with Quake in 1996, cemented first-person shooters as a staple of PC gaming.
The next year, Rareware and Nintendo released GoldenEye for the N64. Combining first-person shooter elements from Doom with arcade light-gun shooter elements from Virtua Cop, GoldenEye is commonly credited with making the first-person shooter a viable genre on a console system. Since GoldenEye, first-person shooters have become very popular on consoles, and more games in other genres have utilized the first-person view to a greater extent, such as adventure games, RPGs, and any game where the developer feels more immersion is needed.
In the modern era, not many advancements can be made to the core mechanics of first-person control, so the focus seems to have shifted to immersion. Games like the Metroid Prime series contain effects where if the lighting is just right, the player can see the reflection of Samus Aran's face on the inside of the visor. Also, in the Halo series, the HUD is designed to always look like the player is viewing the info inside a helmet, and then when perspective switches to third-person, the HUD changes as well. The Nintendo 3DS game Mario Kart 7 introduced first-person mode for the first time in the Mario Kart franchise where players can see the track up close, giving them a great view of the scenery during the race. Sometimes, the F1 series used this concept to see it all unfold during these GP races.