Videos games often get a bad rap and are blamed as being responsible for generating violent behavior in youth. However, the truth of the matter is that research indicates playing video games lead to an increase in perception, top-down attention, spatial cognition, multitasking, and cognitive flexibility. Not to mention that playing video games also helps reduce stress and depression, as found in a 2010 study conducted at Texas A&M by Associate Professor Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson.
So no matter how much people complain about the gore of video games, they are here to stay, in fact, the video game industry is on a rise. According to its Newzoo’s Global Market Report Service, video games are expected to generate $137.9 billion in 2018, a 13.3% growth over 2017. It is also estimated that there will a record 2.3 billion gamers around the world contributing to that figure.
The Convergence of AI & VR - What You Can Expect | Data Driven Investor
In the world of technology, convergence is the logical step. Just a few decades back you would have needed a dedicated…
Over the years, games have not only grown in numbers but the technology incorporated in them has constantly improved. Gone are the days of text-based games or game animation created in 8 bit. Now people can play video games not only on consoles but also on their PCs and even on their smartphones. Hence, gamers are constantly connected to their games no matter where they are. So, what is next for gaming? Most people will put their money on AR and VR.
VR or Virtual Reality has been the talk of the town for a while now and is finally shaping up to its potential. While virtual reality is really exciting, the problem with VR is that it is still quite expensive to be implemented in everyday usage. A player needs to invest in quite a bunch of hardware to fully utilize VR; items such as VR Googles, motion capture controllers, perhaps an Omni-directional treadmill if they want to go out, and not to mention a really powerful computer to run the VR game and all this equipment.
An average gamer is not ready to make such a huge investment, especially for technology that they are not sure where it is going yet. However, AR or Augmented Reality is a nice compromise between traditional gaming and full VR. Not to mention the fact that AR has such untouched potential that it may even be a bigger deal than VR.
Augmented Reality works by overlaying a virtual digital world on top of the real, physical world. While this may not be as immersive as full virtual reality, it certainly is more accessible as the investment in next to none. Mobile Games Development such as Pokemon Go have proved how effective AR can be and the only hardware that a user/gamer needs are their smartphone. This is certainly much more effective than VR where one would need to invest heavily before even playing a VR game.
Another point for AR is the fact that everyone or nearly everyone has a smartphone. Hence, AR is accessible for everyone, whereas, that’s not entirely true for VR. Still, one does need a lot of bandwidth to load and play AR games, however, mobile data connections are already improving, with the majority of the world shifting from 3G connections to 4G connections. Then again 5G connections are almost around the corner. It is estimated that 5G should comfortably be able to reach speeds of around 10Gbps, which would certainly allow AR games to run seamlessly from anywhere.
Augmented Reality has serious potential with seemingly unlimited capabilities. It has already been proven effective on smartphones by games such as Pokémon Go. This is especially important as more and more gamers choose to play games on their phones and tablets. In fact, according to Newzoo’s Global Market Report Service, revenue from mobile gaming will account for more than 50% of total gaming revenue. Mobile gaming will account for about $70.3 billion in 2018, a growth of 25.5% over 2017. This just proves that the mobile gaming segment is huge and is only slated to grow. Hence, it is not a vast jump to claim that the future of gaming will be highly impacted by mobile gaming.
AR has already started to get become popular as it allowed players to play the games themselves. Instead, to watching their avatar run around doing things on the screen, one could effectively become the avatar and run around their room or neighborhood and hunt villains or aliens, or collect hidden items or Pokémon. This certainly has more of a WOW factor than traditional games or toys.
AR can be layered on top of teddy bears, board games, coloring books, or action figures. Essentially these old and tired toys that were on the outs with the advent of mobile gaming can get a new breath of life with augmented reality. For example, AR makes it possible that by pointing the smartphone at a teddy bear, the teddy bear could come alive and one would have a life like a best friend they could talk to, or life-like a pet they can care for. Similarly, AR could make board games come to life with the tokens moving around the board on their own or the adventures being played out in front of the player on their smartphones. This would certainly make board games fun again for a generation that had sworn off board games in the first place.
Companies have not failed to take acknowledge the power that AR holds. Lenovo has partnered with Disney recently to release a new AR game with Star Wars: Jedi Challenges. The game comes with a Mirage AR headset where one can enter a smartphone which projects Kylo Ren into the room with you, one can they use the Bluetooth lightsaber to have a simulated duel with him. The lightsaber also has haptic feedback sensors that vibrate when blocking or striking an opponent, thus making the duel seem even more real.
This is just one of the instances of AR. Hasbro recently showed off its new Iron Man mask which allows one to battle Thanos just like Iron Man. All you need to do is put on the helmet and the gauntlet, set up the three AR markers around the room, and battle Thanos and his armies right in your living room.
Apple, Google, and nearly every company in Silicon Valley are trying to make improvements to push AR to the forefront, thus allowing AR experiences to feel more realistic and more engaging. With AR you are not just playing a character, you are Iron Man battling Thanos, you are battling Kylo Ren. With AR you can finally be your hero and live their life not just watch it play out a screen. AR also allows the kids to be kids again, to jump up and down in their own house, or run around their neighborhood, rather than just sit and stare at a screen all day long. That is what the future of gaming looks like and that is what AR promises.