Today’s world of gaming looks almost completely unrecognisable compared to just a few decades ago. Just about every element of it has changed, including the types of games we enjoy, the devices that we play them on, and who we play them with. We can see this trend across all formats, from AAA video games to casual mobile titles. The same is true with casinos like Betfair who have developed a wide variety of different video slots, each with different themes, mechanics, and bonus features. They’ve also revolutionised the market by running free bet promotions that help players make their deposits go further.
Games also look very different. The 8-bit graphics of the 1980s look like they’re from the Stone Age when they’re compared side-by-side with today’s releases. In some instances, modern games can look so good that they can be mistake for movies or TV shows.
All of these advancements in gaming are thanks to improvements in technology. Each new generation of console has provided exponentially more processing power for video game developers to take advantage of. In response, they’ve created titles with larger maps, extra modes, multiplayer functionality, online connectivity, realistic physics, and even open-ended stories.
But these technological developments are not going to cease. With each passing year, gamers can expect to enjoy bigger, better, and more immersive experiences as the industry embraces each new concept and tool. Here is how we can expect these changes to affect gaming.
An End to Gaming Boxes
Whether it’s the compact slimline cuboids like the later PlayStation 2 models, the bright purple Nintendo GameCube, or the mammoth Xbox Series X, gaming has mostly always involved connecting a box to your television set.
Even if you preferred to play on your computer, a gaming PC works in exactly the same way, with a big box connected to a monitor.
But new technologies could do away with this entire concept. Within the next decade, we could completely do away with consoles altogether and remove the need for gamers to have colossal cards and CPUs in their computers.
Instead, the games that they play could be run from the cloud and streamed to their device over the internet. This would work similarly to how Netflix streams movies and TV shows to just about any device you can imagine, but it would need to work in both directions, as you’d have to send your controller or keyboard inputs back to the cloud server.
This isn’t some pie in the sky idea either, it’s a real technology that already exists today.
Google, Microsoft, and NVIDIA have all been developing their own video game streaming services and tentatively launched them in recent years. Google’s and Microsoft’s services are still officially in the beta stage, so users can expect them to be a bit rough around the edges, but they’re still very impressive.
They have some kinks to iron out still. The biggest challenge is input lag, which is the delay between you pressing a button on your keyboard or controller and the desired effect taking place on the screen. Big strides forward have been made in this area, but there is still a way to go before it can become a mainstream product that will replace our consoles.
Virtual reality is not a new concept in gaming. It’s been talked about for much of the last decade, with companies like Oculus, Samsung, HTC, and Sony all investing millions in the development of headsets primarily for gamers.
Even before these companies got in on the concept, Nintendo created the Virtual Boy, an early attempt at VR gaming that lacked many basic features we would expect from today’s devices. Graphics were essentially red stick figures on a black background, the headset was too heavy to wear, so you had to rest it on a table, and it had no movement tracking, so the perspective remained fixed.
Things are, of course, very different today. The Oculus Quest 2, the most popular headset on the market right now, offers 4K graphics, head tracking, decent frame rates, and a range of content to cater to just about every taste, including blockbuster titles like Half-Life: Alyx.
VR gaming still has a long way to go, though. Eye tracking needs to be implemented and/or improved, as this will help to improve the quality of graphics without needing to beef up the graphics processing chip to the extent that it makes the headset too heavy.
A lot of money is being invested in VR gaming by companies like Meta, who are betting that the medium is going to be the future of gaming and social interaction online. We can, therefore, expect to see big improvements in both the hardware that’s on the market and the type of VR titles that are available to play.
Similar to VR, augmented reality is a technology that could bridge the gap between virtual and physical realities. Most tech commentators envision AR to work similarly to VR, with users wearing some sort of headset that displays stuff directly in front of their eyes.
However, unlike in VR, these headsets would also be transparent so that you can still see the space in front of you.
Some people have theorised about all the different potential implementations of AR in gaming, with titles giving you the opportunity to go outside and interact with the world on your quest to complete objectives.
You don’t need to have a vivid imagination to see this though, we’ve already seen a successful AR game implement this idea, just without a headset.
In 2016, Pokémon GO became a global phenomenon, with players going outside in their millions to catch the Pokémon that spawned randomly at sites around the world. For several months, you would see groups of people pointing their phones at what seemed like nothing, but on their screens they could see a Pokémon standing in front of them.
This shows just how much demand there is for AR, even without the fancy hardware that is still believed to be a few years away, so we can expect a lot of excitement when these forecasted developments come to fruition.