The gaming industry has always relied on tech to evolve and progress and the way it looks today is a testament to that. Whether it be the technology behind powering games and systems, the devices used to experience them or the advanced computing that gamers have to contend with, games simply would not be possible without technology.
Here’s a quick look into how technological advances have transformed the gaming industry over the years.
- Making the most out of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Though many don’t even think about it, the way elements in games behave is all down to AI and algorithms. Whether it be the physics of in-game objects, the way light scatters around a virtual environment or the behaviour of non-playable characters (NPCs), AI is everywhere in video games.
Advances in the sophistication of algorithms and AI have enabled games to become more immersive, challenging and realistic. Opposing sports teams can adapt to your playing style, enemy soldiers can become strategic masterminds and worlds can be brought to life more effectively than ever thanks to modern advances in AI.
- Stepping up a notch with Virtual Reality (VR)
One of the biggest trends in modern gaming is virtual reality, enabling players to immerse themselves within games on an unprecedented level. VR headsets have existed for a while now, but they are now more powerful than ever. By combining things like gyroscopes, OLED monitors, positional and rotational real-time head tracking, binaural audio systems and 3D imaging, players can lose themselves within a gaming world like never before. This has pushed innovation in game design as developers look to the power of VR for their creations.
Even though the platform is still quite new, there are many transformations it could make in the future as there are still opportunities to make VR technology more accessible. A recent article from Wired outlines how VR can be hugely beneficial and rewarding for everyone. However, more consultation and testing needs to be done when improving the platform to make it accessible for everyone.
- The introduction of touchscreen technology
Touchscreen technology has become so ingrained in our lives that we sometimes take it for granted. But, in reality, the prominence of touchscreens has only become so common in the last couple of decades. Smartphones, tablets, computer monitors and more now commonly make use of screen digitisers to enable touchscreen functionality, and it has had a huge impact on the gaming industry.
Game designers for mobile gaming have had to place touchscreens at the core of their design choices. This has led to new ways of controlling things in-game and entirely new sub-genres of games altogether. Players expect a seamless, high-quality experience when playing on a touchscreen-enabled device, and developers have delivered with thousands of titles developed specifically for this form of control. So, whether gamers are playing online games on their tablets or smartphones, touch screen technology has helped improve the controls of these games for the better.
- Advances in control systems
The way we control our games is a fundamental part of the gaming experience, and advances in technology have been the driving factor behind new, innovative approaches. Controllers for game consoles were once permanently attached to the console via a cable. This evolved into a plug-and-play format wherein the controllers could be removed. The features of controllers moved on from simple buttons to analogue control sticks and touch-sensitive triggers.
This moved further to wireless controllers using infrared or Bluetooth technology. The Nintendo Wii was able to send a constant stream of position, acceleration and button-state data to the console for a unique experience, and this technology has been transferred into the handsets that go with many modern VR headsets. Microsoft even developed an innovative approach to controlling games with its Kinect camera, which has led to advancements in technologies away from gaming.
What is next for the gaming industry?
As you can see, technological advancements and gaming innovation have gone hand-in-hand for decades. Current-gen consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X use state-of-the-art technology to deliver outstanding gaming experiences, and modern controllers, VR headsets and the tech behind modern game development are incredibly powerful.
With technology continuing to advance at a quick pace, the future for the gaming industry is extremely exciting. Gamers everywhere are constantly looking for the next innovative trend, and it is certain to be based on a new technology or a new way of using an existing one.