Video games have certainly come a long way from the trusty old family computer we used to play Super Mario on. Back then, only a small portion of the population, mostly the younger group, was keen on playing the latest release of their games. The gaming culture didn’t exist back then. There were certainly no cosplay conventions or internet gaming or any advanced gaming technology.
Now we are seeing high tech innovations and the application of different hardware and software as technology continues to progress. Below are a few examples.
- Facial Recognition
We used to only encounter facial recognition technology in movies and TVs. Then smartphone companies started to incorporate the hardware into the latest models of their product. Pretty soon, we started to see everywhere in numerous applications.
In the gaming world, facial recognition involves creating a 3D scan of your face in order to create a custom avatar that looks very similar to you. The technology has progressed enough that not only are the facial features integrated with the facial simulation but it now has the capability to incorporate facial expressions.
The latest development coming from the top game makers now involves creating games that are able to determine facial expressions coming from a gamer and instantly adapting the gameplay. For example, dialing down the difficulty level based on a gamer’s grimace as they play the game.
- Voice Recognition
Just like facial recognition, voice recognition saw its start in works of fiction like books and film. But it saw earlier adoption compared to face recognition. The first application of voice recognition was in the security industry, removing the necessity to carry a key or memorize a passcode in order to access a secure vault or location.
Voice recognition now found its way in the gaming world with the same application as it did in the security world; it removed a redundant piece of hardware. This time it’s aiming to do away with controllers and instead use voice to control a gamer’s character. Due to the steady progress of technology, voice recognition software is now able to recognize voice commands quite easily.
Although completely removing controllers from gaming is still far into the future, voice command offers an alternative for gamers when they play, interact on social media, or searching the web.
- Gesture Control
Speaking of completely removing gaming controllers out of the equation, many gaming companies have been making great strides in the direction gesture control with the use of 3D cameras. We first saw the application of this technology in gaming through Microsoft’s Kinect. This accessory allows users to interact within the game using gestures and body movements. Its most popular application was in its games involving the full movement of players.
The 3D camera used in such an application also makes use of over 20 points in a person’s hand to determine hundreds of distinct gestures. Gamer’s simply used natural hand movement to, let’s say, control their character traversing through the game’s environment and interacting with other characters. Gestures can also be used to open other features in the gaming console such as opening a media library or interacting with other gamers through social media.
- High-definition displays
There is even more pressure for tech companies to develop higher and higher resolution screens, from mobiles to television. All this is due to the fact that camera companies are releasing more powerful cameras able to capture higher resolution videos and images and consumers want displays that can match that capability. This is one reason why we are seeing the release of screens on computers, mobiles, and television capable of 4K display.
The gaming world aims to capitalize on all these advances by also creating graphics that are higher in resolution for a better gaming experience for its users. Game designers have also started using 3D software capable of creating hyper-realistic characters and environments that make it seem as if they are all real. In order to do this, displays must have the capability to process a large amount of data these games often require.
- Virtual and Augmented Reality
I’m sure you’ve seen the growing hype surrounding virtual reality. Many have seen the funny videos of people screaming with joy or fear while wearing those bulky virtual reality headsets. The creators of these headsets have partnered with game developers to create an immersive virtual reality experience like no other. Unlike traditional displays, gamers can literally step into the game world and control their character much like they control their own bodies. Full integration of virtual reality might still be a long way off but the tech is already blooming.
Augmented reality is for those who prefer to stay rooted in the real world but with a little more tech enhancement. Augmented reality comes in many forms but they essentially work the same; they use real-world spaces and incorporate objects into the game and make it applicable for real-life situations. Examples would be playing table hockey on dining room tables or adventure games using augmented Google Street View maps.
The rise of wearable seems like an inevitability. From smartwatches to glasses, the application of this technology seems limitless. These devices allow us to stay connected online through our phones at all times. Plus, it has the added benefit of monitoring our activities as well as our health status.
Of course, wearables will find its way into the world of gaming. An industry that is reliant on consoles and controllers will find a way to make the user experience even more convenient and its hardware more portable. Wearables offer just that. First designed as an effective fitness companion, wearables were made to be as non-invasive as possible. Wearables are light and compact. Not only are they becoming an extension of the gamer’s body, but they are also an extension of the consoles. Think haptic gloves that allow gamers to use the full mobility of their hands inside the game and even feel texture at the same time.
As we become more accustomed to wearables, we will continue to see more of its application in daily life, not just in gaming.
- Mobile and cloud gaming
There’s no question that smartphones have completely upended how we live our lives. We almost do everything in it, from grocery shopping, ordering food to watch movies and TV shows. Naturally, people started using it to play video games. We see this all the time, people hunched on their phone in buses and trains focused on their games. Mobile technology made all this possible by creating ever more powerful devices capable of handling the processing requirements of gaming software.
Cloud gaming and mobile gaming have several similarities. One, they require an online connection and they can be played on many different devices, not just on desktop computers. As our global telecommunication infrastructure strengthens and the processing powers of computers and servers increase, games can now be played online without the need for hardware or a large amount of memory.
As we push deeper and deeper into the 21st century; and as technology continues to develop, we will continue to see a lot more innovations in the gaming world. The trend seems to point towards increasing processing power at the same time making consoles and controller portable. The healthy dose of competition among game makers will mean hardware and software will continue to evolve and adapt to the needs of the customers.