29 July 2022
It’s undeniable that the commercial gaming industry has grown at a rapid rate and is only getting bigger. What started in 1972, with Atari’s release of Pong – a ping pong game that consisted of nothing more than two lines batting a single pixel back and forth, has developed into a juggernaut of innovation, recreation, and enterprise.
The concept of console gaming is pretty much commonplace for most people. It’s fair to say most millennials have a story about playing their Nintendo N64 or Sega Megadrive as a child. These offline, cartridge-driven games steered the ship and opened up an entire world of possibilities when households moved away from the clunky dial-up internet of the past and bounded into the world of wi-fi.
The appearance of internet connectivity in most homes gave the gaming world a wealth of opportunity. This chance to progress beyond the memory card-saving, overly-pixelated games of the past – and into the cloud-hosted, multi-player, worldwide reaching phenomena it is today.
The idea of logging on, settling in, and connecting with people all over the world, would seem like a crazy idea to the makers of Pong, but this is the reality we live in. Headsets on, controllers or keyboards at hand, shouting orders, and going into battle with an army of worldwide comrades.
With an industry that is moving in such a dynamic way – providing opportunity for global communication, gaming careers and VR interactions – it is exciting to ponder what the future holds for this billion-pound industry. Newzoo’s Global Games Market Report 2021 predicts that the gaming industry will hit $218.7 billion as soon as 2024, with a sustained growth of 8.7% per year – but what does this mean for the way we will be gaming?
One very intriguing thing to consider, is that the game designers and developers of today are the first to have actually known the world of gaming for their entire lives – they have seen it grow and contributed to building the industry before they even started working in it. This new vantage point proves invaluable to the progression here, and as gaming has always been their reality, this new school of forward-thinkers believe that reality should be their game.
VR and augmented reality as a whole is set to be the side of the industry expected to grow and flourish most in upcoming years. Market leaders Oculus – probably the most commonly heard name in the industry – were bought by Facebook in 2014 and continue to design and update the best possible experiences, with big hitters like HTC, HP, and Sony not far behind. The momentum behind VR has only been increased following Mark Zuckerberg’s rebranding of Facebook to Meta, and announcement of the controversial visionary’s key focus – “the metaverse”.
The metaverse doesn’t solely sit within gaming, but in our entire lives – seeing people working, socialising, and even shopping in an entirely virtual reality. This announcement has spurred a leap in the development of VR gaming and augmented reality – think Pokemon GO, but instead of little monsters, you’ll see your friends, characters, buildings, life, that isn’t actually there, but that you can readily interact with.
This technology is believed to change the way we live but will most certainly have its roots in gaming. Luckily internet technology and infrastructure is keeping pace with these developments – because we all know how we hate when a movie buffers, but I think we’d be pretty miffed if our life did! Meaning that these revolutionary concepts can be reality for everyone, not just a few.
The VR gaming enterprise is already spawning creations to make this way of playing as realistic as possible. With the creation of haptic vests that link with your virtual experiences and enable you to physically feel impacts on your body. Entire haptic suits are even past the stage of concept – and are being created as you read this.
The future of gaming is smart, intuitive, and set to merge with real life much sooner than you think. What may have seemed dystopian just a few years ago, is becoming more tangible than you can imagine – so it’s about time you made sure your internet connection can keep up!
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