What’s the moment you’d define as gaming’s huge technological leap? Was it back in 2007 when Steve Jobs debuted his MP3, Internet device and phone? After all the iPhone absolutely revolutionised the way we communicate, entertain ourselves, listen to music and play games. Or maybe it was when Nintendo came up with the 3DS – a portable gaming device that allows you to play in full stereoscopic 3D without wearing glasses? That’s the future right there! Except it came out in 2009.
Steve Jobs introducing the iPhone.
There are almost too many moments over the last 5-7 years where gaming made technological leaps forward. We can now play video games on devices and consoles that were only dreamt of a few short years ago. Microsoft’s motion capture tech meant that we can actually live and breathe video games by controlling them with our body and voice – personally, the launch of the Kinect was one of the most exciting advances I’ve seen. And now we have the Oculus Rift – a virtual reality gaming headset – in development. For those of us who have been gaming since the early 80s, it’s absolutely awe inspiring just how fast the industry has moved and is continuing to move.
Video on this link about Oculus Rift
Let’s have a more in depth look at just a few of these key moments from the past few years – as to what’s ahead. Well the industry is never going to stop innovating and changing and as fast as we get used to one new way of playing, another will spring up. That’s part of why the gaming industry is so very exciting.
The iPhone unveiling
It’s only six years since the very first iPhone was unleashed on the world – how difficult is that to imagine now? Pretty much everyone has a smartphone these days but back then it was revolutionary, and not just because of the music and internet innovations – but also for gamers. Finally, we could play high quality casual games wherever we are – and what’s more many are free or cost just 69p or 99p – that’s an astounding leap for people who were raised on incredibly expensive console titles. And as smartphones have become more and more technologically advanced, and indie game developers have seized on the app development strategy, we’re now seeing games that are intricate, detailed, challenging and beautiful to play and look at – all on our phone! Amazing.
The rise of social gaming
Remember when the most advanced thing you could do over Facebook was throw a sheep at your friends? Well, now look. You can play thousands and thousands of different kinds of games, from Words With Friends to the epic and phenomenally popular Candy Crush Saga and Bejewelled Blitz. The ability to play these on your computer, smartphone or tablet, and the fact that you can play with friends and strangers all over the world asynchronously (that is, you don’t even have to be online at the same time – you can play your turn when you have time and they will pick it up when they have time) is a huge step forward. And so much fun.
Using your body as a controller
Kinect is the stuff of miracles and when it was launched in 2011 it showed a big leap ahead from the interactivity of the Wii and, of course, normal handheld controllers. Motion capture technology picks up your body using a front facing camera and means you can insert yourself into games. Games on offer range from kids’ like Puss in Boots to hardcore horror genre shoot em ups like House of the Dead. So much endless fun! Kinect for Windows is now also on its way.
Playing real casino games for real money
Featuring casinos and gambling within games has always been popular,particularly in big console franchises like Grand Theft Auto. Although there have been console video games with self contained casino games throughout the years, none of them were particularly popular as it’s the realism and ability to play against other players that adds to the experience. So, when online casinos started cropping up in the mid 90s, they were welcomed by many. Over the years, the technology used by key developers like Microgaming has come on in leaps and bounds and the online casinos of today are absolutely immersive experiences where players can play the tables or the slots against people all over the world and win real money. It’s a hugely popular and successful sub section of video gaming that owes everything to the advances in technology that now allow broadband for the masses.
Playing on the big screen
Being able to play on your TV has obviously been around for a long while now, since the advent of consoles in fact. Being able to use surround sound and immerse yourself in a big picture helps gameplay for RPGs and co op games like COD and Halo especially. But what if you’re more into PC gaming? You can still hook up to your home theatre system. In fact, gaming on your HTPC is pretty easy, simply plug your HDMI from your PC into your TV and you’re good to go. Enjoy surround sound, amazingly HD graphics on any game – imagine how much more immersive MMOs will be – try it out, you’ll love it.
These are just a few examples of technology affecting how we play and enjoy gaming – who knows where it will end? The next few years are looking really exciting with the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One coming soon.