5 Exciting Innovations in Gaming That Entrepreneurs Absolutely Should Know About
If you're in the gaming world, school yourself in AR, VR, AI, cloud-based gaming and blockchain. Everyone else is.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The gaming industry has come a long way since its inception in the 1940s, and it's important that entrepreneurs and developers in that field make themselves aware of how quickly the industry has evolved over 70 years.
In fact, every innovation has represented a leap beyond the previous one, and (by extension) has formulated a gaming culture of early adopters who are enthusiastic about tech.
With that in mind, today's gaming entrepreneurs should school themselves in the latest gaming innovations as they work on further gaming developments -- as part of their effort to stay ahead of the curve.
Here are five of the top trends that are rising in popularity within the gaming community.
Smartphone designers are in an ongoing race to pack in as much processing power as possible, using the sharpest camera possible in a small form factor.
The recent availability of this equipment in portable devices has spurred an increase in augmented reality games and utilities. These applications make use of specialized software that superimposes interactive content onto the "real world." Now, users' devices will allow them to see the world differently using this dynamic lens.
Then there are games like Niantic's Pokemon GO, which Polygon reports has attracted over 650 million users. This level of popularity has developers clamoring to create games offering a lively gaming experience that bridges the gap between real life and virtual reality. Apple has even made it a point to express the capabilities of augmented reality on its website when that technology is used alongside Applie's iOS.
Large companies are striving to find ways to put consumers "inside" their -- the companies' -- simulations, through means of a VR headset; the companies are also finding intuitive ways for users to interact with these simulations.
Oculus got its start raising nearly $2.5 million through Kickstarter, and built its empire large enough to the point of being bought out by Facebook for $3 billion as Business Insider reported.
Since then, we have seen many efforts from titans like Sony and HTC to create more premium virtual reality experiences that are accessible to the consumer. A barrier to entry when it comes to these forms of virtual reality, however, is the need for users to have the proper gaming rig necessary, either in terms of a high-end gaming PC or a console.
Samsung, with its Gear VR, and Google, with Cardboard, have come up with ways to make VR accessible to the masses at a far lower price point. Anyone with a smart device compatible with these headsets is able to experience the thrill of jumping inside a program without breaking the bank.
Experiencing the highest frame-rate possible is the ideal experience for a hardcore gamer; this requires a monitor with the largest resolution, and high refresh rates. However, given the increasing costs of GPUs due to the sharp increase of cryptocurrency and blockchain mining, this goal is not easy to achieve, especially with next-generation games becoming more hardware-intensive.
A solution to this dilemma? Cloud gaming.
Cloud gaming is a form of online gaming that enables a user to either stream games, or stream files to a given device, allowing for the playing of these games on these devices. Nvidia offers a service called GeForce NOW, which lets subscribers play demanding video games on enabled tablets; it even allows for cross-platform gaming, giving Mac users access to games they wouldn't otherwise be able to play on their machines due to software incompatibility.
Artificial intelligence in gaming
Every industry is seeking to dip its toes into artificial intelligence. One would be hard pressed to find a modern product that doesn't boast an AI feature. From ride-sharing applications to email categorization, many consumers are benefitting from AI without knowing it.
It was only going to be a matter of time before game developers found ways to reap the benefits of artificial intelligence. The most established form of AI in a video game entails having a computer opponent, whether that means an opposing player in a game of Checkers or an "armed" assailant in a stealth-based video game.
Programmers have actively sought out ways to have these "enemies" self-learn, in order to create a variable gaming experience that not only increases in difficulty but keeps the players' experience fresh. And, here, advancements in AI have enabled developers to answer the call as they design new games.
Today, these developers are able to attain stunning visuals by creating algorithms that scan footage, and according to an interview with Tim Sweeney on TechRadar, create results beyond what someone could achieve using motion-capture technology.
Blockchain in gaming
The advent of Blockchain has led to many shifts in the digital market, mainly in the form of cryptocurrency but also in the rise of other innovative areas like cybersecurity and increased government efficiency (for more, see this Entrepreneur article). There are also indications that game developers and users will be getting on board with blockchain, as seen in Gods Unchained, the world's first blockchain-based eSport created by Fuel Games.
The prevalence and popularity posed by the union of blockchain and gaming have previously been seen with other games, such as CryptoKitties. But, in addition, members of the gaming community can benefit from blockchain by having true ownership of the items they purchase or earn from the games, adding real economic value to their digital assets.
Why is knowledge of these innovations crucial? Because, before they make even their first, initial mark on their drawing boards, gaming entrepreneurs must have a starting point to discuss potential ways to stay two steps ahead of what their users are accustomed to.
Gaming after all moves fast. And, the early adoption of technological innovations is embedded in the DNA of the modern gamer.