Gaming is one of the cornerstones of modern entertainment. From Twitch streams to casual mobile games to The International tournament, there’s almost an endless stream of gaming-related topics to explore. As gaming becomes more mainstream and more lucrative, developers are funnelling even more resources into innovating the next ‘big thing’ in the industry.
Already, there are a few frontiers that are pushing into brand-new territory. These projects include eXtended Reality technology, which is set to transform mobile gaming over the next decade, along with efforts like cloud-based gaming. As more people explore the world of gaming, these opportunities will continue to expand and diversify.
In 2023, there have been numerous advances in the industry, from hardware to software to peripherals. Let’s explore a few of the most advanced pieces of technology that allow gamers to do their thing, along with how they might evolve in the future.
Random Number Generators (RNGs)
RNGs are a pivotal element of any type of video game because they ensure totally random outcomes. Let’s focus on one straightforward use case: online slots. Online slots are the world’s most popular online casino game and cover a massive range of formats and themes. But behind each slot game is an RNG that generates randomized outcomes with every spin of the wheel.
This creates variance and change—which is something that every single video game relies on, whether slots or beyond. Even in an FPS game, for example, an RNG might be used to create variance in terms of accuracy, accounting for real-life factors like wind resistance. In other words, they generate new types of challenges for players.
Compared to RNGs, voice recognition technology is still relatively limited. However, given the popularity and success of tech like Amazon’s Alexa, this type of feature is set to boom over the next decade. Already, voice technology is being used in games like Seaman and Tom Clancy’s Endwar, allowing players with visual impairments to play the game. Similarly, other games are enabling features like command support to add a new dimension and tactical challenge to titles.
Non-Player Characters (NPCs)
The NPC has been a huge part of the gaming experience for decades. NPCs have also been one of the most laughable elements of the gaming experience, as non-player characters are renowned for being a bit buggy—if not outright detrimental to the player they’re supposed to be assisting or accompanying.
However, AI has left its mark on NPCs and revolutionized this element of gaming for the better. Thanks to AI, NPCs are able to engage with settings and worlds with greater autonomy. The ability to make independent decisions and even react to changing circumstances adds a much-needed dose of realism to NPC interactions.
The evolution of displays in gaming has been one of the most important improvements over the industry’s history. From the advent of 8-bit retro games to the modern world of HD displays, graphics have directly influenced players’ ability to enjoy and immerse themselves in a game. Today, it’s all about 4K HD graphics as seen in games like Red Dead Redemption and Microsoft Flight Simulator.
The better the display available, the more players are likely to gravitate towards a title. Not only is this important for RPG games that include in-depth narratives, but it’s also critical for games that involve visual cues, a high degree of avatar personalization, and complex settings.
Over the last few years, VR developers have sought to nail the controller experience. However, gesture control is still one of the latest frontiers in gaming. Players must have access to cameras in order to use gesture control, as exemplified by the rudimentary Wii Sports sensor. But more advanced projects in VR and XR are now delving into this same world.
Gesture control in the future is likely to involve gloves and other hand-focused controllers that contain multiple sensors. A glove, for example, might use up to 22 different sensors that allow a player to navigate a game.