Video games have steadily risen in popularity for many years by now. Especially during the last few years, the industry growth has accelerated and it is now bigger than movies and sports combined. With new technologies being developed and improved each year, gaming is bound to change by implementing them and shaping the future of video games.
While virtual reality was around for many years by now, the technology is yet to deliver a fully immersive experience. It seems that the closer we get to the convincingly looking virtual reality, the more difficult it gets to make even the smallest improvements.
The main current issue is bulky and expensive VR headsets that deter many gamers from entering the virtual worlds. Even the newest models weigh around 0.5kg not to mention cumbersome cables that get easily tangled and lower the quality of the user experience. Even without that, many gamers, especially from older generations, are not keen on wearing something that completely isolates them from the environment.
Current trends indicate that VR could be mostly used for simulators and social activities in the future gaming. Piloting planes or driving cars in VR is a much more immersive experience than using external displays while still-improving body tracking allows for relatively natural virtual communication.
If augmented reality (also called AR) sounds unfamiliar, no need to worry – this is a name for technology almost everyone has already seen in Pokemon Go back in the summer of 2016. AR allows overlaying real-world view with virtual digital objects thus „augmenting“ it. Pokemon Go was the first time AR successfully went mainstream and still remains the story of success that many game creators seek to repeat.
If VR tries to create immersive virtual worlds, AR is meant to integrate the digital world into the real one. People have far more desire to play games that allow them directly interact with reality instead of cutting themselves off in VR. Laser tags, hide-and-seek, treasure hunting – the list of possible AR games just goes on. Game designers are also keen on trying out this technology as achieving results there is easier than in the VR space.
So far, AR games are almost mobile exclusive. Yet tech giants such as Facebook, Apple, and others are considering entering the AR with upcoming glasses that would allow for mass adoption of technology and would boost its development.
Cloud gaming is not something new and GeForce Now has been around for years already. In theory, this could allow not to depend on local gaming hardware and play on any computer. Many tech giants have dipped their toes into this market – Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, and others.
Yet the biggest problem of cloud gaming remains the lag and delay due to internet connection. Many users still agree that playing any competitive games such as CS:GO or Valorant is rather challenging due to the delay that is introduced. It is believed that the adoption of 5G might help those who currently can not use an ethernet connection.
Besides connection limitations, providing enough computational power required to service thousands of users at the same time is still a challenge. With the increasing quality of the graphics companies still find themselves requiring users to wait in queues to play. It is obvious, that cloud gaming is still years away from being mainstream. Yet without a doubt, it can definitely define the future gaming.
Back in 2018 Ready Player One offered a glimpse of how the Metaverse, a virtual world parallel to the real one, could look in the future. At its best, it would combine both worlds and with help of AR would make both virtuality and reality join together.
We are still a long way from anything like this as many game developers still do not see too much potential in such technology. Current metaverse examples could be Roblox and Fortnite, that both offer to experience various events in virtual worlds such as concerts. Yet they are still a long way from what we saw in Ready Player One.
The metaverse, like the internet, could be used for more than just gaming and maybe a space for many businesses to expand into. It would also change how does we understand gaming – instead of competing games they all would be connected, similar to an amusement park.
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