The world of video games is on the brink of what seems to be the greatest console war to date. In the past, consoles have always fought head-to-head to dominate the market. Come this holiday season, the juggernauts, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, will finally be released, and gamers around the world will finally get the chance to see what these machines are truly capable of.
What does the future of gaming hold for the consumer? What innovations lie ahead?
I can’t help but ask myself these questions; after all, innovation from the big studios has been lacking in recent years in comparison to the indie developers, who seem to have taken on the task of keeping the market fresh with new and interesting ideas. With this new generation of consoles, we are blessed with new features that just weren’t capable with the last gen hardware. Now it’s time for us to take a look over some future innovations within the gaming world.
It appears that every new game announced for the next generation of consoles has some form of SmartGlass or tablet integration involved. With these applications we are now able to interact with games in all new ways. Just as the Wii U offers a second screen for games, tablet integration syncs your tablet/smartphone of choice to your console, which has the potential to enhance gaming. You can keep an eye on your stats, use your second screen as a map and even (depending on the game) join friends’ games to help out playing minor roles. With tablet Integration, we now also have the ability to use our device as a keyboard, which will make traversing the Internet on our consoles a little more bearable.
Streaming has been around on the PC for quite a few years now. Many people live stream video games from all over the world to sites such as Twitch and Ustream, where thousands of people watch players daily. Live streaming has become a huge contributor in introducing people into eSports, where they can watch the top players compete in their favorite games regularly.
The time has finally arrived for live streaming to come to consoles and Sony and Microsoft have announced partnerships with both Ustream and Twitch. Sony currently has the exclusive for Ustream, and streaming to Twitch.tv is available on both platforms. Also, both consoles share the ability to record games and upload them to websites such as Facebook at the click of a button and that gameplay is automatically recorded for a period of time, all whilst you are playing the game. Players will then have the chance to go in and edit the clips as they wish and upload to any site of their liking, or they have the ability share it on their profile for all their friends to see.
Back in February Sony unveiled that the Playstation 4 will be using a service called Gaikai, a cloud computing service which lets players play high-end PC and console games which are rendered on a remote server and then streamed to the player through the power of the Internet.
Sony stated that even though the PlayStation 4 is not backwards compatible, it will however, over time, have the ability to use Gaikai to stream old PlayStation classics from a vast library of games straight to the player, thus making backwards compatibility an option. Microsoft also intends to use a form of cloud computing, which they hope will take some of the stress off processing from the Xbox One and render it in the cloud. Microsoft have stated that they intend to use cloud computing to help with both graphical processing and for the use of their AI systems in certain games.
The Oculus Rift
At E3 in June of 2012, a demonstration of the Oculus Rift prototype was first shown. With the Oculus Rift, the player has the ability to be fully immersed in the game. With this head mounted display, the player can look around the environment of the world all by moving his or her own head.
The possibilities of this device are endless; imagine exploring the depths of the sea or the highest mountains of the world. Anything is possible with the Oculus Rift, allowing you to see your favorite games like never before. It’s all possible. Keep an eye out for the Oculus Rift because something tells me you will be hearing a whole lot about it in the future.