Gaming is not a new activity. While the industry dates back a few years, it has seen significant changes. It is not only how people play games that has changed, but also how people view the industry culturally and societally.
Today, a variety of platforms provide opportunities for people to game for fun, bragging rights, or real money. Take video games, for instance; according to Statista, the industry is valued at $95.45 billion in the U.S market. The global gaming market is also predicted to reach $268.8 billion by 2025.
The cultural impacts cannot be overlooked too. Particularly, Online gaming fosters connections through meeting new players from different locations worldwide. Without realizing it, games have impacted our lives and the society we live in. When we study the gaming world carefully, we begin to see trends and patterns that make games what they are today.
One critical trend is the development of immersive user-focused technologies – Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR, AR).
Following the development of these technologies, every facet of our lives seems to be changing rapidly. AR and VR have been broadly publicized following their implementation in the cinematic sphere, yet, it has also seen significant success in other sectors. These user-focused technologies have helped improve the hospitality industry, healthcare sector, and E-commerce, to mention a few.
Unsurprisingly, AR and VR have introduced an untapped gaming feature that seemed impossible previously. In truth, it’s one of the most extensive developments in the gaming industry, perhaps second to mobile technology.
What you need to know about AR and VR
Augmented reality is a technology that creates a composite view by overlaying electronic or computer-generated images on a user’s perception of the real world. Typically, a camera is used to bring AR to life, as well as some form of display device utilized to provide the virtual images in the user’s view. These display devices could be a projector or head-mounted display (HMD).
Augmented reality technology comes into existence to provide a highly interactive real-world experience by offering a creative and immersive user experience. With the technology, we can enjoy a combination of quality video and audio content that assists to develop an artificial environment.
While it might feel like new technology, the first example of an AR implementation can be traced back to the early 1960s, when pilots used HUDs for flight information without consulting their equipment. However, new AR systems are much more advanced and used in a wider range of applications, including navigation, simulations, maintenance, and of course, gaming.
Despite these developments, AR is still not vastly utilized, primarily due to data breaches and security issues.
While AR adds to the user’s field of view, virtual reality completely simulates a reality that could be comparable to, or different from, the real world. Virtual reality implements a 3D, electronically generated environment that users can interact with in real-time using specialized equipment such as sensor-fitted gloves and VR glasses.
Modern virtual reality systems utilize a virtual reality modeling language (VRML) that allows users to design a different world with straightforward tools. The first implementation of virtual reality was in “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” released in 1984. This game employed basic texts and graphics to create the perception of a different world.
Since then, VR has been a major game changer in the gaming industry and consistently offers improved versions of basic user gaming experiences. VR users are exposed to tons of benefits, with the major one being the ability to take users into the game environment in real-time. The benefits of this technology have ushered the industry into different dynamics, which has led to unprecedented success.
Augmented reality vs. virtual reality
Most people in the technology industry prefer to view AR and VR as two sides of a coin. Nonetheless, they still differ in what they offer users.
AR superimposes artificial objects in the actual reality of a user. For instance, a user can have a dinosaur walking in their living room through AR. This is made possible by sensors and algorithms used by a computer to ascertain the state of a camera.
VR, on the other hand, creates an entirely virtual or artificial environment for the user. VR technology utilizes algorithms and sensors like AR. However, VR imitates a different environment through VR glasses instead of working in a physical environment. As such, every movement by the user triggers a reaction to the environment, which provides an exciting and immersive world.
In terms of market value, AR and VR rank as the most thrilling developing technologies in the world. Currently, the market value of virtual reality in 2022 stands at $12 billion, with the Oculus Quest by Meta being the most popular VR hardware in the market. AR has a market value of about $16.6 billion.
AR has seen more success than VR because it’s simpler and more established. All modern phones with a built-in camera can serve as a source of AR, one prominent example being 2016’s ”Pokemon Go.” However, with major tech giants such as Meta, Google, Microsoft, and Unity diving into VR development, we can expect to see the technology become ubiquitous soon.
How both technologies are transforming the gaming world
Due to their potential, AR and VR have gained rapid popularity in the industry. The ability to alter or completely change a reality has created a more immersive and realistic gaming experience. Here are some ways these technologies have completely transformed and expanded the gaming sphere.
- Developing the 3D approach to gaming
The cinematic industry has always embraced 3D concepts. With 3D glasses, people were able to experience movies in a more interactive way. . However, as popularized as it has been here, movies are still not made to be viewed in 3D at will; games are entirely different.
The introduction of VR and AR in games has helped revive the 3D concept. Different games now have compelling plots that players can experience realistically through 3D technologies. Modern games are developed to seize the attention and imagination of players through personalized interactive communication, making them more appealing.
VR and AR have built on the concept of 3D effects in gaming which not only creates an enthralling experience for players but also serves as a solid backbone for different games.
- A more immersive experience
No one can deny how engaging games are. Even old games with sketchy graphics can keep people engaged and entertained for hours. So, it was always going to take something significant to create a more captivating experience. AR and VR spectacularly do this.
These technologies completely blur the line between real and virtual environments, which is a critical determinant in the success of any game today. Game developers can create a scenario where players can make a virtual avatar and “play in” their avatars. Additionally, the standard controls and interactive graphics that AR and VR offer makes for an interactive and addictive experience.
- Instantaneous interaction
Implementing anything to respond instantly is not straightforward. It requires hardware, software, and complex algorithms. Unsurprisingly, making a virtual environment react in real-time was previously deemed inconceivable.
Yet, AR and VR manage to make this possible by integrating both real and virtual environments to create an imaginary experience for users. It also makes possible the ability to include digital information and instantaneous interaction, which has proven to be a major turning point in the gaming industry. The introduction of real-time interaction helps alter the user’s perception of time and reality, further enhancing engagement levels.
- Cultural and societal perceptions
Previously, games were viewed as a pass time. However, with the implementation of AR and VR, games now go beyond being just a form of entertainment; making them a lifestyle. The ease of communication offered by most games has led to different communities where gamers meet and interact with new people.
Aside from video games, the impact of VR and AR can be seen in other sectors, such as iGaming. New technology implemented in online wagering has improved the popularity and acceptance of most social games. This new perception has led to different countries legalizing social games.
Implementing immersive user-focused technologies is a popular action plan for gaining people’s attention. Industries such as healthcare, education, tourism, and entertainment have resorted to AR and VR for a better experience.
Keeping up with rapid transformations
There has been a significant skew in the number of VR and AR players. So much so that it’s gradually becoming the new normal. With time, more businesses in the gaming sector will adopt these technologies when developing new games. Considering this, there is no better time to consider ways of keeping up with these rapid transformations.
Like other changes, the only way to stay up to date with rapid transformations in the gaming world in regards AR and VR technology is by diving into the industry and considering the possible career prospects it offers. A good start would be obtaining a Laurier online master’s in computer science as it equips students with several skills related to parallel programming, data mining and analysis, algorithm design, machine learning, cyber security and technology entrepreneurship,
The online master’s in computer science program responds directly to growing industry demands for transposing technical knowledge into practical, real-world skills. Programs like this offer relevant skills needed to fully understand AR and VR technology. Some of these skills include;
- 3D modeling and design
Three-dimensional modeling is a solid starting point for understanding and keeping up with rapid technological transformations. This involves experience in 3D design software, integrated development environments, and programming languages such as C++. Frequently, it could also integrate graphics programming and game development.
A significant limitation to AR and VR is security concerns. These technologies work with networking and connectivity. Hence, cyber security and data management skills are required to keep data secure and private.
- Algorithm Design
The whole essence of these technologies is based on dynamism. Hence, competency in algorithm design is required to keep track of developments in AR and VR. This skill is essential in creating a sequence for rendering different gaming processes.
- UX design knowledge
User experience or UX features the inclusion of audience demands regarding visual communication. Hence, it becomes a prerequisite for understanding user-focused technologies. This skill incorporates prototyping and arranging content that can engage users in the best manner. It also features the evaluation and research of relevant AR and VR methodologies.
Future of AR and VR in the gaming sector
The gaming industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors globally. Gaming giants such as Microsoft and Sony release new and improved games and consoles yearly. Yet, the future of gaming depends largely on VR and AR. These technologies have shown they have the potential to revolutionize the way games are played.
Currently, AR and VR are still in their infancy. VR, for instance, has one of the highest projected potentials for growth. Yet, they have already created a platform for some of the most engaging and immersive games. With AR, players can play a game from any location with different gaming characters or avatars projected in the exact location.
VR transfers players to a different virtual environment where they can interact with other characters and objects in real time.
AR and VR are the future of gaming. Their projected growth implies that more games will be modeled with these technologies, thereby leading to the development of more innovative games. There is no limit to what can be achieved with AR and VR; so, gamers should be very excited about the future of gaming.