With virtual reality systems slowly coming into the forefront of modern video gaming, many people are left wondering the question: what’s next?
Virtual reality seeks to accomplish one specific aim, which is to completely immerse the user into the game itself, to make them feel as if they are a part of the world. Everywhere they look, the character looks, what they reach for, the character reaches for, etc.
The problem is, the interaction usually only appeals to two senses: sight and sound.
Video game developers have long wondered how to fully immerse the user within the story, and even, if possible, tap into all five senses, touch, taste, and smell included.
Is it possible that that type of technology will be in our future? And even so, what other types of video games can future generations expect?
Group Virtual Reality
Since their inception, one of the strongest criticisms of video games has always been that they isolate the user and cut them off from the rest of the world. Even online networks haven’t solved this dilemma, as many researchers state that depression and social anxiety increase during video game usage. To combat this, many users then retreat into video games more, which only further increases emotional distress.
However, recently there has been evidence suggesting that certain video games can be used to treat depression, instead of the other way around. If this is so, can video games be used to help treat emotional conditions?
Virtual reality certainly has an opportunity to do so. With devices like Oculus Rift and Playstation VR making their way into homes across the world, there are more opportunities than ever to be connected to others. Soon, those with virtual reality hardware will be able to travel across the entire world – digitally, of course – and interact with people from all over the world. You will be able to see and hear people that you may never get to interact with normally.
How’s that for an interconnected world?
Change the World Around You
Pokemon Go was a runaway success, grossing $600 million in the first three months of its launch.
Part of the reason for this was due to its usage of augmented reality, which layers digital enhancements on top of an existing reality in order to make the environment more “fun” to interact with. Compare this with virtual reality, which changes the scenery completely.
Many developers think augmented reality games have the potential to make the world “more silly,” providing an escape for users who want more fun in their everyday life. Users will be able to search for treasure in the park they visit all the time, level up by tracking your GPS movements, and more.
Get Inside the Game
If changing the world around you isn’t appealing, then why not put yourself in the game?
Developers are making huge strides in recognition software, which detects not only your face and voice but also gestures and mannerisms. What this creates is a game in which you – genuinely you, with the same hair, height, build, etc – are actually playing in the worlds the game presents.
Imagine, for instance, that Link from Legend of Zelda has your body type. He looks like you, talks like you, and even moves like you. Or imagine that when Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid is talking to Big Boss, it’s your words in your living room that you choose to speak that the game is picking up to communicate? How much would that change the outcome of the game?
Mobile gaming is a hot trend right now, because it allows the user to experience all the fun of hardware-based games even while they’re miles away. And even though the experience is not quite the same yet, many developers believe that mobile gaming technology will only continue to improve, and at a more rapid pace than we thought.
Not only will mobile games pave the way for the future, but educational games are on the rise as well, and not just for school age students, but also for those for those with developmental problems as well.
Cloud-based gaming is also a big trend, as the size of video games storage continues to grow. Soon, 500gb hard drives that come standard on most devices today will only be able to hold a dozen or so games, so moving to a cloud based system makes a lot of sense. It also makes the experience more portable, being able to carry your profile with you wherever you go.
Unfortunately, no one knows what gaming will look like a couple of generations from now. Technology increases at such a rapid pace and comes from such diverse backgrounds, that it’s impossible to accurately guess what it will look like. Would anyone have guessed that in 2017, you would be able to put on a set of glasses and pilot an x-wing fighter?
Probably not, but for many Star Wars fans out there, there’s no experience more thrilling than that.