The video games industry relies heavily on technology as technological advances give the opportunity to make gaming much more interesting. Moreover, without it, games and consoles just wouldn’t exist. Thankfully, technology is constantly advancing and improving, enabling developers to create more immersive, in-depth, and ambitious games and allowing players to enjoy even better gaming experiences.
Carry on reading to learn about some of the most impressive technological advances which has benefitted the gaming industry.
Also known as cloud gaming, on-demand gaming is to the gaming world what Netflix is to film and TV. In other words, it’s where you get to stream games and play them, without having to run things through your console, computer or phone.
Normally when you play a game, you download it on your device or insert the CD/cartridge with the game on. Your device needs to be advanced enough to run the game to a decent standard. With cloud gaming, nothing is required of you. Instead, the game’s run on a remote server and when you play it, it’s streamed live to your device. It works just like it would normally, the only difference is that you’re actually playing it remotely.
With cloud gaming, you can play all sorts of games without having to own discs or cartridges, and without having to have the latest console. The table below summaries the main providers of cloud gaming services:
|Cloud Gaming Service||Number of Games||Availability||Released|
|GeForce Now||Over 1,000||North America and much of Europe||February 4, 2020|
|PlayStation Now||Over 800||North America, Japan and much of Europe||January 28, 2014|
|Stadia||255||USA, Canada and much of Europe||November 19, 2019|
|Xbox Cloud Gaming||276||North America, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Australia and much of Europe||September 15, 2020|
|Amazon Luna||86||USA only (international release not announced yet)||October 21, 2020|
A recent technological advance that’s worked wonders for video games is augmented reality. This is where a real-world environment is overlaid with digital elements. It’s essentially a combination of the real world and the virtual world. Quite a few hugely successful games use this technology; some of them are listed below.
- Pokemon Go;
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite;
- Ingress Prime;
- Jurassic World Alive;
- The Walking Dead: Our World.
Pokemon Go is by far the most successful. Since its release in 2016, it’s generated billions of dollars in revenue through micro-transactions (the game is completely free to download and play). It’s the best-known and most commonly played augmented reality game and is still enjoyed by millions around the world five years after its release.
To give you a better idea of how augmented reality works, we’ll talk about some of the key characteristics and mechanics of Pokemon Go. When you play the game, you have an avatar who walks along with an in-game map that’s an accurate map of the real world. Wherever you want, your avatar goes. The aim of Pokemon Go is to collect Pokemons (fictional creatures of which there are hundreds of species) and battle them with other people, known as trainers.
Pokemon can be caught at certain spots on the map. In order to build up your collection, you’re encouraged to get out of the house and go exploring. By walking about and visiting new places, you can encounter different species of Pokemon, or maybe even stronger versions of ones you already have. The map has things you can interact with, namely Pokestops and Pokemon Gyms, that are placed at real-world locations where there’s something of public interest such as a monument, a landmark, a park, an entertainment venue or a piece of important architecture or art, for example.
Augmented reality is used in Pokemon Go to enhance the player experience. When you catch a Pokemon, for example, you can have a digital background or a real-world background. If you opt for the latter, the game will use your phone’s back camera to superimpose an animation of the Pokemon onto the real-world image the camera sees. If you point your phone at a fountain, for example, the Pokemon can be standing on it or beside it.
Then there’s virtual reality. This is where you’re fully immersed in a digitally created environment through the use of a specially designed headset. Place the headset on and everything you see will have been generated by the computer. When playing regular video games, you’re looking at a screen and can see everything surrounding it. With virtual reality, there’s nothing else to see, nothing to distract you from the gaming environment and kill the illusion. You’re made to feel as if you’re actually in the video game world, though in reality, you’re at home (or somewhere else) wearing a helmet.
The aim of virtual reality is to give players a gaming experience that’s as lifelike and realistic as possible. With video games, there’s a disconnect between you and the screen; and, for that matter, the character you’re controlling in the game. Video games can be immersive, yes, but virtual reality does it better since it removes the barrier between you and the screen. It surrounds you with the virtual environment.
There’s a growing number of games that you can play using a virtual reality headset. Here are some of them:
- Beat Saber;
- Population One;
- Ghost Giant;
- Tetris Effect;
- Ghost Giant.
It’s also worth mentioning casino games. A small but steadily growing number of online casinos offer a virtual reality option. The way it works is straightforward: you put the helmet on and you’re made to feel as if you’re in a land-based casino, albeit a computer-generated one. Walk around and you’ll see some slot machines and other games – they look just like their real-life counterparts. All the games that are present in the virtual reality casino can be played with real money.
The number of games that can be played at virtual reality casinos is very limited. This is because these casinos aren’t as widespread as regular online casinos. If you’re into mobile slot games, you should find that some of the most popular mobile slots are available at virtual casinos. To make virtual casinos more appealing and to attract more players to them, only the biggest games are adapted for them.
Voice and Face Recognition
Gone are the days when the only way you could play a game was through your console’s controller. Thanks to technological innovations, voice and face recognition are quite widespread and are being used in many different ways. For example, people use voice recognition to tell smart devices, such as Amazon’s Alexa, to perform various tasks and control certain smart devices. As for face recognition, one of its most popular uses is for phone security: your phone can unlock if it recognizes you in the camera, eliminating the need to enter passwords.
With gaming, people use voice recognition to turn consoles on and off, and even give commands to their console to control their in-game character and interact with others – all these things and more can be done simply by talking. What many games incorporate is the use of customizable avatars. You have an avatar and can adjust its clothes, skin, hair, eyes, and other features so it resembles you, or you can create an entirely new one. Thanks to face recognition, games can map your face and create an avatar that looks almost identical to you.
Most games rely on you using a controller. If you’re on your phone or tablet and you’re playing games on that – you could be playing some new mobile slots for example – then you’ll be using buttons on your device’s touchscreen. A new innovation that’s attracting a lot of attention is gesture control. This is where you don’t have to push buttons or tap on a screen to control what happens in a game. Instead, you just wave your hand. A camera tracks your hand’s movements in real time and translates the movements into in-game actions. Games that employ this particular type of technology rely less on physical hardware than others. It could become something that more games incorporate into their design.