Technological advances transform every sector over time, and video games are no exception, as this medium is continuously changing. The 8-bit era started only 40 years ago in 1983, yet games from this time are effectively unrecognisable in comparison to their current-day counterparts. The whole gaming landscape has dramatically shifted to match the new technology, with a significant culture developing around competitive multiplayer.
On top of this, the growth of virtual and augmented reality allows for very different experiences. In this article, let’s look at some major recent innovations in video games and how they have changed the industry.
Improved graphics for better UX
Increases in graphical performance have led to a massive push for photo realism as a way to show the abilities of new consoles and graphics cards. This has generated some pushback from players who prefer a distinctive art style, though it’s undeniable that new triple-A titles are now pushing boundaries in terms of pure visual quality with the help of advancements in technology.
There are a number of new techniques that are contributing towards these changes, such as ray tracing, which allows for more realistic lighting. Industry-wide increases in RAM and CPU performance have also made detailed textures and high-polygon models more feasible for home consoles and most PCs.
Embracing virtual & augmented reality technology
Perhaps one of the most significant innovations in recent video game history is the growth of virtual reality, an exciting way to increase immersion and craft entirely new experiences. While there are few games available for the already-expensive commercial headsets, this could revolutionise how we play.
Right now, the future also looks promising for AR games too as more and more gamers seek out immersive and interactive games to play. AR technology is playing a more significant role in shaping the future of the gaming industry and providing the opportunity for more multiplayer experiences and increased realism in games.
The acclaim of Half-Life: Alyx, for example, has already shown what VR titles can do when given enough care. Along similar lines, augmented reality is becoming popular with adult mobile app users since the success of Pokémon Go, allowing players to engage with the elements of a game through their camera lens. It’s one of the most popular games in recent years which helped to make AR and location-based technology more popular, and even helped to promote physical activity for players too.
The continuing popularity of mobile gaming
Mobile phones today have a lot more processing power today than they used to, with their specifications growing by the year. This has enabled them to handle a far more diverse range of gaming experiences – Call of Duty, Minecraft, and Fortnite are just a few well-known titles now available on mobiles everywhere.
With the number of worldwide users of mobile games also continuing to increase year on year, it is predicted that by 2027 there will be an estimated 2.3 billion mobile game users. With such a large audience, it’s crucial now more than ever that game companies focus on their mobile target audience. With the latest smartphone technology available at users’ fingertips, game development companies can focus on producing high-quality games that will provide gamers with worthwhile mobile games to play.
As today’s developers focus more on mobile-optimised games, more and more titles are being released for mobile platforms, for both the Apple App Store and Google Play. From casual puzzle games to simulation games, more types of mobile games are being created specifically for mobile. Even mobile casinos have created more advanced gaming opportunities, the new slots at Pink Casino which offer immersive interactions being just one great example.
Providing better connectivity & multiplayer options for users
Good broadband and connectivity allows more players than ever to share their experiences with others worldwide – and games that have dedicated servers can ensure strong performance which lasts for years. With dial-up now in the past, online multiplayer is no longer constrained to LAN parties and couch co-op.
Games can now handle more than a handful of players at the same time; the popularity of the ‘Battle Royale’ genre is (in part) due to its ability to connect 100 people within the same server. Fibre-optic connectivity also increases internet speed and reduces lag, allowing for a more responsive gaming experience.
Some of the most popular online gaming titles right now, like Apex Legends and Call of Duty: Warzone, have millions of players and registered users worldwide. The most streamed battle royale game at the moment is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare which, although released in 2019, is still strong to this day, with a sequel released in 2022.
Powered by a new IW engine version and continuing support of cross-platform multiplayer, its Modern Warfare II sequel broke many records for the Call of Duty gaming franchise. With this game, and others out there, there are many benefits of creating more cross-platform games in the future. For example, they help to reach a wider gaming audience and provide a better experience for gamers, regardless of platform or location.
New technological innovations emerge every single day – potentially transforming the sector even more as we move further into the ninth console generation. For example, though many believe video games have reached a peak of graphical fidelity, this is a sentiment that players have erroneously held at many points over the past few decades.
As terms such as ‘metaverse’ become commonplace, we could see a greater focus on virtual and augmented reality to create unique games which push the medium forward. Beyond this, it may be impossible to predict which direction the industry will take and the technological trends that will soon define it.