If you look through the annals of gaming, there have been several landmark moments in the evolution of computer games: from Pong to Frogger, from Doom to Medal of Honour, from Grand Theft Auto to…well, Grand Theft Auto, there are numerous flagship releases to call upon in the past 40 years or so.
The doom-mongers made a worrying prediction with the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018: console games, certainly of this generation, had hit their peak.
The sheer size and scale of Rockstar’s game world almost beggars belief, and it’s hard to know where the development of gaming goes from here. It takes almost 16 minutes in real time to travel from one side of the map to the other in Red Dead 2, so where the heck does console gaming go from here?
Happily, there are plenty of positive sorts out there who can see further enhancements to our gaming experience just around the corner. And we’ve compiled a few ideas for directions which we can see the industry heading in during the next few months and years.
Virtual Reality: A Renaissance
Stop laughing at the back!
Yes, we know that VR has been on something of an own-goal mission in recent years, but there are signs that the technology is going to enjoy some significant improvements in the road ahead.
What virtual reality needs is affordable hardware that looks good, isn’t a nightmare to wear and comes at an affordable price point.
There are several releases upcoming that suggest all three of those boxes can be ticked, not least the Oculus Rift S, the next-generation headset from the makers of the original Oculus hardware.
Priced at around the £300 mark, the Rift S will deliver a huge 107° field of vision, ultra-low latency tracking and a fast-switch LCD resolution in the region of 2560×1440.
Will the Oculus Rift S be the headgear that finally brings VR to a wider, mainstream audience?
If VR does take off, that – allied to Augmented Reality – could be a game-changer for the next generation of consoles.
Imagine being dropped into a warzone in Call of Duty.
Imagine playing up front for England in the World Cup on FIFA VR.
Imagine trying to take out the target with one, breathless shot in Hitman.
The possibilities are endless, and while we can put people on the moon and crack some of the most complex scientific theories on the planet, it’s still a source of frustration that Virtual Reality is yet to become a feature of everyday life.
Think about how VR could be extended across the gaming spectrum. Advertisers would have an unbelievable opportunity to market their products and services in 3D. The gaming industry has already started to offer their players a whole new realm of gaming thanks to lives streams: League of Legends and Hearthstone players stream their games on Twitch, and casino fans can already interact with human dealers in real time. For example, it is possible to play live roulette at Aspers.com thanks to HD cameras which give a full view of where the ball is heading.
Hopefully, immersive gaming and finally realized VR technology is not just a fad or an empty promise. Perhaps 2019 could be the year where they, at long last, become a meaningful reality for everyone to enjoy.
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Anthony is the Owner and Editor in Chief for Culture of Gaming and he spends his days studying, gaming and working on the site.
Anthony has worked for the past 7 years in the Video Game journalism industry and has worked for over 30 different sites in that time.