Gaming and technology go hand in hand. They both help to drive each other forward, with developers working hard to push the limits of what hardware can achieve and manufacturers striving to create new equipment that can create even better gaming experiences.
The tech developed for gaming often finds its way into other areas of life too. For example, the powerful graphics cards used in gaming PCs can also be used for cryptocurrency mining and as part of distributed supercomputing networks.
In fact, the PlayStation 3 was a popular device for researchers as its immense computing power could be harnessed to research complex topics like astrophysics and process images from surveillance drones.
The PS3 is somewhat outdated today, having been released 15 years ago. Technology has moved on since then and there are many new developments that are making gaming very exciting in the here and now.
If you’re a gamer, it’s almost certain you’ve heard the term “ray tracing” in the last couple of years. For a while now it has been the Holy Grail of video game graphics but it hasn’t been feasible.
Ray tracing is a way of generating light and shadows by “tracing” each individual ray of light from its source. It helps to make graphics look much more realistic and can even make it difficult to distinguish between CGI and photographs.
While ray tracing in gaming hadn’t been possible until now, it has been used by the movie industry for years in CGI effects for films. This was because graphics processors didn’t need to generate these effects on the fly, and could spend days rendering just a few hours of footage.
That changed recently though after Nvidia released its GeForce RTX line of graphics cards, the first commercially available consumer GPUs that could handle real-time hardware ray tracing.
Since then, Sony and Microsoft have included ray tracing in their latest consoles, allowing gamers of all kinds to enjoy this new era of graphics.
Streaming has changed most forms of entertainment in recent years. It’s made watching movies and TV much easier and allowed us to listen to just about every song ever produced from our smartphones.
In gaming, streaming comes in several flavors. Firstly, esports and professional gamers use streaming services to broadcast their gaming sessions to hundreds of millions of viewers every year. This has become a huge industry in its own right in recent years.
Secondly, streaming is being used within the games themselves. Some of the earliest adopters were online casinos who created “live dealer” versions of popular games like roulette. These streamed variants work in the same way as any other roulette game, using a wheel with 37 or 38 differently-numbered pockets, a ball, and a board for placing bets on. However, while a standard online roulette game uses CGI, a live dealer game uses a video stream of a human dealer and a real roulette wheel. This has helped to create one of the most immersive casino experiences on the market.
Google is also using streaming in its Stadia service, which does away with a console or a powerful PC and lets you play from almost any internet-connected device. By offloading the computing work to the cloud, Stadia lets players enjoy AAA titles from their smartphone or laptop, something that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
Virtual reality has been around for some time, though the technology only really came into its own within the last few years. Companies like Facebook, Microsoft, and Sony have been investing heavily in the technology and have begun to roll out wireless headsets that don’t need to be connected to a smartphone or computer.
VR means gamers can experience a realistic environment that seems like they are inside, instead of looking through a screen into that world.
Consumers haven’t been as keen on VR as some manufacturers had hoped, but it seems that this is going to change in the coming years as the technology matures and more content becomes available.
While it won’t appeal to casual gamers who want to be able to dip in and out of games, VR gaming does have a market amongst hardcore players who want the richest and most exciting experience.