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Sudipta Saha  /   3 minutes

Technology evolves at rapid speed. If you need any real proof of the advancement of digital technology over the years, take a quick look at the gaming industry. From the very early years of black-and-white 2D games like Pong of 1972 to the first 3D game, 3D Monster Maze of 1981 to complex, life-like shooters like Battlefield 3 (2011), there’s no doubt that the gaming industry has seen its fair share of technological evolution.

This year’s annual game developer conference which was held in Brighton was especially focused on virtual reality. The subject matter of this huge conference covers one-man studios to giant developers, business managers to graphic artists targeting to highlight current trends. Last year, the focus was totally on social media, spectator-ship but VR dominates entirely this year. As Brighton’s conference, we have listed down few trends of current gaming industry which are changing the world of games.

Increased Involvement of Crowdfunding in the Games Industry

There has been an increase in the number of games that use crowdfunding sites to identify levels of consumer interest and fund their development (for example Shenmue III attracted 69,320 backers on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter who together pledged US$6,333,295).

The role of crowdfunding within the games industry will undoubtedly continue to grow. A good example can be found in the context of eSports - Valve has raised an impressive prize fund of US$10m for its Dota 2 tournament through a US$10 charge on the game's Compendium virtual sticker-book. Hi-Rez has also adopted crowdfunding as a method to increase the value of the prizes it can offer at its Smite championship.

Increased Participation in Immersive Gaming – Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Augmented Reality :-

Augmented reality is the superimposition of computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data onto a real-world environment. The app-based game Ingress is a good example of a game that transforms the real world into the landscape for a game.

Virtual Reality :-

There is huge excitement over virtual reality – there have been several dedicated sessions at all the recent industry trade fairs like Develop and the Game Developers Conference. The key headsets are about to be released with the PlayStation VR (previously known as Project Morpheus) and Oculus Rift both earmarked for release in early 2016. Several publishers are ramping up their research and development activities around virtual reality to benefit from the potential boom in business that could follow.

Freemium Game Design Adopted in Premium Games

Developers are using metrics to tweak and evolve games by reviewing user data. Perhaps one of the best examples is the approach taken by Activision with Destiny in that it has an entire team that analyses and interprets server data and player feedback to improve and further develop the game.

This has resulted in the delivery of regular downloadable updates, as opposed to the release of annual iterations, with the objective of retaining valuable players (for example The Taken King is a major expansion of, rather than a sequel to, Destiny). Retention of loyal customers has become vital in what is a competitive market.

The distinction between social media and games will continue to blur

The latest generation of games is harnessing the improvements in broadband speeds and network features with the result that players benefit from more dynamic social experiences. The hugely popular game Minecraft has, for example, become a venue for friends to meet online and speak with each other while collaborating on construction projects and other activities.

This can be of great benefit to those who feel isolated and seek social interaction. Recent co-op games like Destiny encourage players to socialize and share to succeed. No doubt future co-op games will take a similar approach in their design and bolster the concept that multiplayer games provide social and not just 'gaming' experiences.

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