How Will Tech Redefine the Online Gaming Industry?
One thing that gaming developers cannot be accused of is not embracing new technology. Whenever innovations hit and the general public embrace them, the leading gaming brands are always quick to harness their potential.
Indeed, we only have to look back over developments in the last two decades to see that. When motion sensing and gesture recognition become commercially viable, Nintendo jumped on the bandwagon and released the Wii. Going live in 2006, the console not only revolutionised the home video gaming experience but became a huge hit. After shifting 5.84 million units in 2006, the console reached its peak in 2009 after selling 25.95 million units.
Continuing this fascination with new technology, Nintendo released the Switch in 2017. Known as a hybrid, the console is capable of splitting into three distinct parts: console, tablet and multiplayer standalone unit. The inspiration for the Nintendo Switch came from the growth in online and mobile gaming. With players now able to access games via Facebook, mobile app stores and more. Nintendo wanted a way to connect the dots and create a multifunctional system. The end result was a product that could not only satisfy hardcore video gamers but casuals who enjoyed the experience of gaming on the go.
If we expand this look at modern gaming, we can also see that live streaming has become a major part of the industry. For example, inside Paddy Power Games (aimed at adults), users not only get access to virtual casino tables but real ones. By utilising RFID sensors and webcams, developers such as Evolution Gaming have been able to develop live online games. Thanks to these innovative tables, players at Paddy Power can see cards and chips move in real-time.
What’s more, the technology is set-up to offer a greater level of immersion thanks to multiple camera angles and chat features. Taking this a step further, live streams have also become a form of passive entertainment in gaming. Through Twitch, gamers can now broadcast their sessions. Covering almost every type of gaming, the leading Twitch streams now attract millions of viewers each month.
As you can see, gaming developers always have their fingers on the tech pulse. With that being the case, it’s hardly surprising that virtual reality (VR) has become the latest frontier. Already worth an estimated $9 billion/£7 billion, VR is starting to find its way into more areas of the industry. Beyond the inevitable innovations in this area, open-source, decentralised technology is likely to characterise the next generation of gaming products. Thanks to the rise in popularity of cryptocurrencies and their associated blockchains, developers are now working on virtual networks.
The advantage of a decentralised network is that it allows independent developers to contribute to the game. This, in turn, would create a living organism that’s shaped by the interests and desires of players. In essence, decentralised technology could stop games having a start and end point. Instead, they could evolve over time without being confined or restricted by the vision of a central authority (i.e. a gaming company). Although this technology may manifest itself in a different way, the opportunities for change are there. Indeed, with developers proving time and time again that they’re willing to experiment with new ideas, decentralised gaming certainly isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.