There are a number of trends making waves in the video game area at the moment and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future – take a look.
The Return Of Virtual Reality
As the hardware used to render game content has grown dramatically more powerful, virtual reality (VR) has made a big comeback in the gaming industry. The biggest development on this front is the debut of Oculus Rift, a head-mounted display (HMD) designed by Palmer Luckey that promises to make VR a much more common experience for gamers.
Oculus Rift is slated for a January release, and it promises to come with an impressively affordable price tag of just $300. The display delivers an incredibly wide field of view – 107 degrees – and a low-latency head-tracking system to keep up with gamers’ movements. Oculus Rift is also capable of rendering stereoscopic 3D environments. The prototypes which have been exhibited for the press and the public at gaming conventions have drawn plenty of attention, and it’s been overwhelmingly positive so far.
Open Source Game Development
Take a moment to browse the app store on your phone and take note of how many games are available for free today. This explosion of content coming out of smaller independent game developers isn’t going to be restricted to mobile devices for long. Open-source gaming is coming to every market. 2013 sees the release of Ouya, an open-source gaming console powered by Google’s Android operating system. The driving principle behind open-source development is that games deserve to be cheap to create and cheap to play.
Game development for Android devices like the Ouya doesn’t require the use of costly software development kits (SDKs). Independent developers can craft games with lower costs and release them cheaply. This makes the Ouya a terribly tempting option for console gamers, and the affordability of the hardware itself (priced at just $99) makes this a temptation a lot of gamers are likely to give in to.
While future open-source consoles may work differently, with Ouya the console itself serves as the designer’s development kit. In theory, at least, there’s absolutely nothing stopping any Ouya owner from creating games of their own. ITN productions has created a great new production starring Amiqus on the video game industry that’s worth a watch.
Augmented Reality is a display system that combines your own view of the real world with a digital data overlay. For an example of how this works, consider the Wikitude mobile app. Simply holding your phone up allows the app to identify nearby points of interest such as hotels, restaurants, and ATMs.
This technology is already being explored by game developers. Basic games like DroidShooting overlay the game environment on the real world. At the moment the technology is still in its infancy, but progress is being made every day. We may not be too far away from wearable game systems (something like Google Glass) delivering a completely immersive gaming experience.