Humans have always been innovating and experimenting with new ideas. While it may seem like a relatively new concept because of the fast pace of change that we see today, early civilisations were always inventing new tools and techniques too.
Without this ancient technology, we wouldn’t have agriculture, bikes, cars, cooking, or medicine. We wouldn’t have artificial lights, clean running water, or the ability to easily move away to live and work somewhere else.
In more recent years, we’ve built on these older inventions to develop modern technologies like the internet, smartphones, and digital payment systems that have completely revolutionised our way of live.
One area that has been touched by this change is gaming. The video games of 2021 are almost unrecognisable in comparison to the titles created in the 1980s and early 1990s. Just about every element has evolved, from the graphics and sounds to the size of maps and complexity of mechanics.
The two-dimensional platformers with 8-bit MIDI music of the NES era have been replaced by 100-player battle royale titles with high-definition graphics. At the same time, online casino games have also been evolving. From the early digital recreations of blackjack and roulette, modern video slots have emerged with video cut scenes, unique bonus rounds, and multiple jackpot offers, including some that hit every day and others that grow bigger and bigger over time.
Technology continues to evolve though, and new advances are promising to shake up gaming again.
Traditionally, a video game would be created by a team of developers who would, among other things, design a map (or set of maps) that would then remain the same for the life of the game. Sure, they could release an expansion pack or DLC to introduce new maps, but the existing ones would remain the same.
This meant that new players were at a disadvantage against those that had owned the game for longer as they wouldn’t have the same knowledge of hiding places, powerup locations, and spawn spots as the more experienced competition.
One recent technological innovation has begun to change this. Known as procedural generation, it can create video game maps on the fly. This means that every time a player loads a game, the map they are presented with is different to every single one that came before it.
Procedural generation has been used by several high profile titles, including Minecraft, the best selling game of all time.
VR companies have been promising to revolutionize gaming with their cutting-edge technology for years, but the price, battery life, and performance limitations have so far meant the headsets have remained a niche product.
Recent advancements in virtual reality technology have meant that headsets are now portable and don’t need to be connected to a computer or an external power supply.
The quality of games is also improving and Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that it was going to be releasing Grand Theft Auto San Andreas on its line of Oculus headsets, a big coup for the company.
Ever since the first-ever video game was created in 1962, one thing has remained the same — the game has been run locally from the machine the player is using. No matter whether it is Super Mario Kart for the SNES, Gran Turismo for the PlayStation, or Grand Theft Auto V for the PC, the game’s code and assets have been loaded from a cartridge, disc, or drive.
New streaming technology is promising to change that. Technologies like Nvidia Shield and Google Stadia now make it possible for gamers to enjoy titles remotely by having them streamed to a computer, smartphone, or TV. It works in a similar way to movie streaming services like Netflix, but is more complicated due to the interactive nature of video gaming.
Because the streaming service’s servers do all of the number-crunching, it means you can play new AAA on a cheap laptop or a tiny smartphone. There are still some kinks that need to be ironed out, such as input lag and graphics glitches, but if that can be done, streaming will completely change the gaming landscape forever.