The gaming industry is growing rapidly. There are more and more people playing games, whether casual or otherwise. The technology used to make these games needs to be advanced and improved in order for them to meet the high expectations of gamers worldwide, and it seems like each year we see a new advancement that makes us go “wow!”
One such trend is virtual reality (VR). VR has been around since the 1960s; however, only recently advancements in technologies such as computing power and display rates have allowed us to create affordable consumer-ready VR headsets such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. It’s expected that by 2020 there will be about 200 million active VR users. Do note though, while several popular brands such as Playstation and Xbox have developed their own VR headsets, they’re not technically true VR; the user is still within an enclosed virtual environment and cannot fully explore it. True or ‘immersive’ virtual reality requires all six degrees of movement (up/down, left/right, forward/backward, pitch, yaw, and roll) to be sensed by the user.
We can expect developments in other aspects such as graphics cards. For example, only recently Nvidia announced that it will be releasing its new line of 10-series GPUs at this year’s Gamescom. This will mean that most if not all upcoming games for 2017 and beyond will be optimized for these new cards which mean better graphics than ever before. The expected price range for these new cards is between $200-$700.
However, what really takes the cake is something called ‘ photorealistic graphics ‘. This involves using virtual reality to scan real-life objects so they can be used in games. For example, German company Crytek scanned an entire apartment and rendered it with high-resolution textures for their game Homefront: The Revolution. It is expected that later on this technology will be used for purposes such as architecture design and interiors planning.
On the note of graphics, there’s also the topic of Resolution Independence. What is resolution independence? Well, simply put it means that developers do not have to create assets at fixed resolutions but instead allow them to scale depending on the resolution of the device the game is being played on. This will hopefully allow for a more diverse set of games that may not have been possible before.
Looking at the future, we can also expect virtual reality to become an integral part of our lives in many areas, with everything from movies and cinematic experiences, education, surgery training to psychological therapy . In addition, VR has been used as a platform for social interactions. For example, this site is implementing a VR chatroom where users meet up to talk with their virtual gaming friends from all over the world.
However VR doesn’t only apply to game or entertainment purposes; it can also be applied in various other ways such as business, journalism even military applications! For instance, in 2017, NASA sent a virtual reality headset to the International Space Station, thus allowing astronauts to explore the surface of Mars from their own living quarters.
So what’s next for gaming? Maybe contact with aliens? Well, it’s definitely going to be something amazing and we’ll just have to wait and see!