Evolution of Video Games: Then, Now and What Its Future Holds
The boom in video games and Game apps is no new story, and is showing no sign of slowing down. AAA games can now boast higher revenue figures the Top Hollywood blockbuster movies, and a single programmer in their bedroom can create a viral sensation that makes him a millionaire. Uptake has grown throughout every culture, and has turned into the preferred pastime for most. Escapism to a different reality is more fantastical than ever and accessible to everyone. That is why we spend countless hours saving princesses, racing custom cars, dodging bullets, fighting monsters, or creating a virtual world for us to rule.
The success of video games has given new opportunities for both game developers and gamers. Video games were once different from how we know them today. They were initially made for academic purposes until the 70’s. A simple game like Pong has impressed a generation, enticing them to flock to their local arcade just to be able to play the minimalistic tennis game. Before long developers developers created home consoles so people could enjoy this entertainment at their leisure.
Through the years, millions of games with different genres have been set up, with various and better consoles and platforms being introduced for a better gaming experience. Game graphics have grown better as well from simple pixelation to hyper-realistic, showing how much the gaming industry has grown through the years.
As the gaming industry grows, the user population has grown as well. Today, the gaming community is possibly one of the biggest social collectives in existence. Gamers have created online communities where they can connect around the world, allowing them to communicate and play on the same game server in real time. Due to its popularity, this hobby has turned into a sport, creating big tournaments and teams and even producing a wave of celebrities. One of the usual genres with tournaments is massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs).
Ok, so given the obvious nature of that success, where do we go from here?
Smartphones and the death of Handheld Consoles
Smartphones are probably the hottest gaming platform worth investing in. Whilst portable game consoles like the Nintendo 3DS XL and the Sony PlayStation Vita are undoubtedly amazing, you will never get around the fact that it’s always going to be the small minority of harcore gamers who will buy them to carry around. Especially when almost everyone is already carrying around the latest smartphone. As smartphone technology just get better and better and Mobile game development continues to see a rise in budget and quality, you have to think that mobile Game consoles simply don’t have a long future. Think about it logically, even if you sell $100 million worth of mobile consoles, Rovio can make that in a single game, with a fraction of the development costs, no manufacturing costs and the easiest distribution system in existence. By 2020 statistics predict 6.1 Billion smartphone users. I am not sure there is a bigger network to sell on. Add this the the expansion of cloud gaming and open wifi, and even restrictions of hardware stars to become less relevant. Your smartphone simply acts as the interface, with the power and storage being supplied by the cloud, negating the last advantages of mobile consoles. Given that, you have to ask, what hope does the mobile console sector really have?
Home consoles however, are still booming, and each new generation of development we welcomes a new era of technology and capabilities. The smartphone industry and gaming industry could play a fundamental role in the future of not just gaming, but education as well. The new surge of conscientious game developers and gamification specialists is showing just how valuable these tools will be in persona development through gaming as well as simply entertainment.
Probably the hottest sub-topic right now and in my humble opinion, it’s been getting a bit of a bad rep lately. Why? Simply put, over sell and high expectations. Just because it's the latest technology, doesn't mean it’s the greatest technology. Right now you need to treat it like a talented younger sibling. Appreciate it for what it is, new. Don’t expect mind blowing yet, but I assure you, it will be. Virtual Reality has opened new opportunities for both the developers and gamers, and is taking the whole genre of ‘Experience’ to a whole new level. Five years from now there won't be a home system or school that is not using this to deliver amazing gaming and development experiences. Sony has already integrated their consoles with VR, giving the user an opportunity to live in the game and interact with the immersive 3D worlds.
The development of VR and AR will be exponential, even though I see AR as a much lesser endeavour. The only question is will it be superseded by better tech such as Wearable Technology before it gets to really shine. The biggest wearable tech sector started with fitness and the event of health tracking systems, but devices such as Google Glass, Samsung Entrim 4D headphones, and Sony SmartEyeGlass, offer us a peek into the possible future of wearable gaming. The prediction is that these may also act as an extension to your home consoles via cloud based gaming.
I realise this is by no means an extensive comparison and would love to know your thoughts, predictions, and wants for the future of gaming. Leave a comment and let us know.