Technology is all-pervasive today, and one major industry that has experienced its significant impact is the gaming industry. Developers are not just up-to-date with the latest technology in the market; they are the active creators of new technology that has the potential to enhance the gaming experience.
The first motion-controlled console gaming system was released by Nintendo in 2006, and it revolutionised the gaming industry. This technology has since been incorporated by other industries – such as the medical sector – which look up to game developers for introducing them to technology that can be used to considerably improve their own operations.
Closer home, the gaming industry has evolved beyond recognition in the last 20 years. From consoles to graphics, every aspect of gaming design has been in a state of constant flux. These developments have lately been incorporated in skill-based Rummy and entertainment and racing games that use high-definition graphics to enhance the gameplay experience.
These shifts have altered the basic understanding of video gaming. Actor and film director Andrew Serkis couldn’t have been more right when he said, “Every age has its storytelling form, and video gaming is a huge part of our culture. You can ignore or embrace video games and imbue them with the best artistic quality. People are enthralled with video games in the same way other people love the cinema or theatre.”
How have these changes been incorporated into the gaming industry? Well, here are some current technology trends that have modified game design.
- Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality is immersive gaming at its best. It is basically the application of a 3D artificial environment stimulated through headsets. It essentially creates a suspension of disbelief that lets the gamer transcend the real-world environment and experience the VR environment as the real one. The designs considerably enhance the gaming experience, as gamers flock to these games to get real-world feels. Players like PS4, HTC and Oculus have been coming up with impressive VR headsets that have been reshaping the gaming market.
- Augmented Reality
AR is the integration of the game’s visual and audio content with the real-time environment that the gamer is a part of. AR uses the existing environment and places computerised images and audios on to it, to create a new playing field. AR is less exclusive than VR in the sense that it inherently depends on the gamer interacting with a modified version of the real world, instead of replacing the real world with another plane of reality, as in VR.
The most successful example of AR gaming is Pokémon Go. This is an exciting development to look forward to, especially in terms of conventional board games or card games, where themes and rooms can be modified based on the player’s location and surroundings, with unlimited options to design challenges and difficulty levels.
- Smartphones are the new consoles
Mobile phones have transformed from mere wireless communication devices to advanced gadgets with high-definition screens that let you play games offline and online. Recent developments support mobile phone companies launching smartphones that are specifically designed to give the best gaming experience possible. This is not to say that console gaming is on the decline, but to state that it’s made video games more accessible. Today, gamers can conveniently use their smartphones as controllers.
But technology is by no means the only factor that has changed gaming designs. Here are some other factors that have been at work:
- The Battle Royale
The trend of multiplayer games, the MMO, has suffered a setback and paved the way for the Battle Royale – the Hunger Games of video gaming. It is basically a game genre that involves a fight between multiple people: the last combatant standing wins.
The thing about Battle Royale games is that it calls for interaction between all fighters and creates a space where people from all over the world can play together. This is inherently opposed to the idea of video gaming is a solitary activity; it brings back the good old person-to-person interaction in gaming.
Games like Fortnite, Overwatch and PUBG are proof that the Battle Royale trend is here to stay. More and more developers are switching to this genre of gaming to harness the potential of this ready market.
- Inter-social connectivity
Networking features are being used to create a dynamic social experience. Built-in social sharing systems in consoles now allow you to share your game achievements in the form of screenshots and videos on social networking sites without having to leave the game. Developers are making social sharing integral to their game design. Games such as Minecraft, Destiny and The Crew have created spaces where players can interact and socialise. Games like Alphabear have built sharing mechanics into their intrinsic gameplay design.
Another factor that should not be overlooked when considering current trends is social influences. Some social trends that have impacted gaming designs are given below:
- Inclusivity and diversity
Developers have been incorporating diverse characters, the point of views, and storylines into games instead of stereotypically mainstream plots. They are also taking into account non-conventional audiences such as senior citizens. Yes, gaming is associated with the younger generation, but game developers are taking an older generation into consideration when working on tile-based games such as Dominoes, Chess, or the popular card game Rummy.
“Rummy is a game of skill, but more importantly, it is one that generations have grown up playing during social interactions, creating an immediate connection with the older generation. It is not only interesting but helps improve memory and overall mental health,” explains Bhavin Pandya, CEO, Play Games 24×7. The Rummy Game Download is available for free and supports Android and iOS devices.
- Parents playing with their children
The millennials who grew up playing video games are now handing over that legacy to their children. So kids are now learning to play video games responsibly as they team up with (or play against) their parents. This has impacted game design as developers are now careful about the kind of content they create as they cater to different age groups playing together.
- Educational and therapeutic uses of gaming
Today the gaming industry is dedicated to creating games that make life easier for gamers. And so different industries are coming together to follow a demand-and-supply chain, which is ultimately resulting in game designing for specific educational and therapeutic purposes.
Fields such as science, medicine, and education are increasingly incorporating VR gaming in their everyday operations. There has been experimentation with VR technology to help paraplegics walk again. Similarly, VR training platforms are being used to simulate the operation theatre environment and the inner workings of the body to train medical professionals.
These are some of the major social and technological trends that are currently shaping the gaming industry. It is expected to further revolutionise the gaming experience, as the technology gets incorporated into more diverse genres of games.