Embryonic development is a dynamic process that requires a fine balance between several factors in order to achieve an optimum hatchability and chick quality. These factors include the background of the embryo, such as genetic line of the breeders, the age of the breeder, egg weight, and factors related to the environment in which the egg is stored and incubated, such as temperature, humidity, gas levels and altitude. Gas exchanges are of fundamental importance for embryonic development during incubation and may affect the livability of the embryo. This paper reviews the roles of the gaseous environment (i.e. O2 and CO2) around hatching eggs during storage and during incubation and the effect it might have on the survival of the developing embryos and the chicks that hatch. The state of the art on the different attempts to establish the optimum requirements of different gases that promote the optimal developmental trajectories at different periods during incubation is presented. The roles and consequences of different levels of O2 and CO2 during storage and incubation on hatchability, incubation duration, hatching process, embryo growth, embryo mortality, organ development and morphology, metabolism, blood acid-base balance, chick quality and chick post-hatch growth are reviewed.