Gaming has come a long way since its early days. It was once a niche hobby enjoyed by technology enthusiasts but it’s grown into a mainstream hobby that everyone gets involved in. There is now more choice than ever. People who enjoy classic card games can now enjoy blackjack and baccarat and play at home on their computer or smartphone through different sites and apps. They can even take advantage of free bets and bonuses to spend less on their gaming hobby, while still enjoying it to the fullest.
On top of that, fans of casual titles like Candy Crush and Farmville have hundreds of thousands of different options with just about every imaginable genre and theme. AAA games have also evolved, becoming more complex, larger, and even more realistic, resulting in blockbusters like Forza, FIFA, and Fortnite.
When it comes to gaming, we can only count on one thing staying the same, and that’s the fact that it will always be evolving.
Technology, evolving consumer tastes, and even changing business models have all contributed to the evolution that has taken place in the past. We can expect these factors to continue to influence what games we play in the future and how we play them. While it’s impossible to predict the future with 100% accuracy, we can make some pretty solid educated guesses to forecast what changes we’re like to see.
Ever More Realism
Early video games were very primitive due to technical limitations which made it difficult to create titles that were representative of real life. One of the best examples of this is Pong, a game that was essentially a digital version of table tennis. Due to the lack of power of early hardware, Atari used two white lines and a white square to simulate rackets and a ball.
Over the years, more colour and more functionality were added to games, but there were still many limitations. This forced the creators of early games to get very creative and the legacies of their decisions live on today. For example, Mario was designed with a large nose and moustache to make it easier to distinguish his facial features on early 8-bit machines while his hat removed the need to draw complicated hair graphics.
Today’s games take advantage of infinitely more processing power, improved graphics and physics engines, and better displays to create a much more realistic experience. The result is that some games can even be confused with footage from the real world, such as the time a Canadian man watched 45 minutes of a PES game thinking it was the Euro 2020 tournament.
As technology continues to improve, it will help developers to create video games that are even more realistic than what we can play today. This will be achieved through a combination of better graphics and further tweaks to physics engines as well as the introduction of additional features and functionality that replicate real life more closely.
New Ways to Play
From the first-ever video games through to the present day, we have, for the most part, interacted with video games in the same ways. We’ve either used controllers with buttons and sticks or keyboards and mice to control what happens on the screen.
There have been plenty of attempts to get rid of these input devices and create a better and more immersive playing experience, but they have mostly been gimmicky.
Players of older shooting games could use gun-shaped controllers to shoot at the screen instead of changing the aim with an analogue stick. However, these only worked with older CRT TV screens and monitors so they have been phased out.
Nintendo had some success with its Wii console which used motion sensors in a stick-shaped controller to get people moving around instead of sitting stationary while they play. However, this feature has not been used as much in its more recent releases.
Sony and Microsoft have both also tried to use cameras to create new ways to play, though both have since been discontinued. Sony’s EyeToy for PlayStation 2 worked with some special minigames, but no developers adopted it for any serious AAA titles.
Similar things happened with Microsoft’s Kinect for the Xbox which was tipped to be a way to do away with controllers completely, but it has remained more of a novelty.
But with virtual reality and augmented reality technologies improving exponentially in recent years, we will get new ways to play that could enjoy more longevity than just a couple of years. Developers are already creating serious games that are beyond just a simple proof of concept and even more VR titles are in the works
Play on Anything, Anywhere
Over time, gamers have been given more and more freedom to enjoy their favourite titles on their own terms. While early players might have had to travel to an arcade to try and set a new high score on Donkey Kong, just a few years later, they’d have the chance to play over and over again from the comfort of their home thanks to home computers and consoles.
In 1989, Nintendo took it further by creating the Game Boy, a portable console that let players enjoy black and white titles on the go. In the late 2000s, this was taken to a new level as smartphones put portable gaming machines in everyone’s pocket.
But, even as attempts to create cross-platform play have evolved, players have still mostly been tied to using a game on a single device. If you’ve created a character on your PlayStation, you’re not usually going to be able to it up and carry on playing with it on your iPhone.
Video game streaming platforms could finally make the medium completely platform independent. Already, Stadia and Xbox Cloud Gaming allow players to start playing on a PC and then pick it up from a smartphone and as these services mature, we could see the extinction of the games console and gaming PC.