How Technology has Changed the Online Gaming Market
Once thought of as a simple pastime for teenage boys and one that contributed to pasty looking skin, diminished social skills, and bad eating habits, playing video games has become a standard form of entertainment for a large percentage of the population.
The technological and coding advances made by game developers and programmers has not only turned adults, both men and women, into gamers but have led to innovations that have had real world applications outside the world of gaming.
The Early Advances and Their Descendants
When he designed Pong in 1972, little did Allan Alcorn know that his simple console game that played table tennis would evolve into a multi-billion dollar a year industry.
Pong and the Atari console were the first steps in moving gaming from the arcade to the home. The introduction of game cartridges shortly afterwards opened the flood gates and sounded the death knell for not only many arcades but for the board game and role playing game (RPG) market.
Left to Right Bites the Dust
Regardless of the complexity or storyline, the early video games were played in two dimensions and involved the player moving left to right. Wolfenstein and Doom changed that dynamic forever by introducing a 3-D environment. Players could now move around the entire layout and interact in a more realistic manner.
Players who cut their teeth on this bit of technology are perfectly at ease using it in the real-world today, from controlling robots and drones to performing surgery.
The Social Network is Born
In 2002 Microsoft released X-Box Live, making gaming a social experience. Players could now play against opponents from across the world. They could also chat, first with text boxes and then via headset microphones. This bit of coding know-how was the end of carbon-based interfaces and environments as the silicon based one was more stable, more advanced and exponentially larger.
The social aspect of gaming created an interesting dichotomy. Players became known through their online personas and their avatars were often a representation of their fantasy selves. However, as the superstars of gaming from RPG games to online poker grew, so did the desire for real-life recognition.
Facial recognition software has allowed avatars to look more like the actual players. Intel’s RealSense cameras also allow for the actual facial expressions of the player to be transferred to their game character.
Twitch, which allows players to broadcast their game play in real time along with commentary about their strategies and techniques, is on the way to making game players superstars. RPG experts not only provide value game play techniques but provide reviews of new products and add-ons which can spell success or failure for a new game. Poker players are also taking to Twitch as a teaching and coaching tool.
Virtual and Augmented Reality are Next
Sci-fi movies have promised us virtual and augmented reality for decades. Current advancements like voice control and motion sensors are an integral part of the march to true virtual reality.
Smartphones have even helped pave the way for a virtual reality world by making people comfortable (and many say dependent) with being connected to the online world twenty-four hours a day. They have also contributed greatly to entertainment growth as “non-gamers” can sneak in a few minutes of Game of War or Words with Friends during their lunch breaks and commutes.
As smartphones increase in size, wearable tech such as Google Glass and smart watches are stepping in to make our connectivity and ability to interact even easier.
One Fast Growing Segment Encompasses All Aspects of the New Technology
One of the fastest growing sectors in gaming is the online gambling sector, and live dealer games are the hottest development in that particular sector, giving players the chance to catch the number 21 against the dealer.
These immersive games not only encompass the major factors of successful gaming (social interaction, competition, and convenience), they also address the growing demand for realism in gaming by immersing the players in a real-world environment.
Programmers long ago figured out how to deploy basic casino simulations. Slot machine games were the easiest and one of the more popular casino games for personal computers and game consoles. Other casino games including blackjack, craps and poker were introduced.
While the games provided some entertainment value there were several problems including the solitary nature of the games and the weak algorithms and too-basic programming. While the poker boom of 2003 is credited to Chris Moneymaker , the boom was also contributed to by a core of programmers who not only came up with a way to deal a truly interactive multiplayer poker hand, but also simplified the concept of random number generation enough so that the non-technical could understand and trust it.
Over the last decade, the online gaming world has made leaps and bounds, with the next revolution now taking place, made possible by a unique mix of technology and show business that create live dealer online games.
The games are a seamless integration of interactive video streaming with a heads up display which makes it easy for players to follow the table and gives them the ability to make betting decisions. The games use optical character recognition (OCR) or RIFD readers to display the rank of the super jumbo index cards that are used in the live dealer games.
What to Expect
The speed of the mobile service and the expansion of broadband have helped fuel the growth of online games. As things progress even further, players are going to demand more and more immersive games. As wearable tech becomes more of stable and the price point becomes lower, consumers will also expect game play to evolve to take advantage of devices’ capabilities.
Coders need to look at ways to fully incorporate all aspects of game play from motion detection, voice control, and heads-up displays into a complete package, and one which can carry out game commands based on minute movements.
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