Numerous economic sectors have gone for a toss amidst the chaos created by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, there is one industry that continues to see an impressive upward spike- gaming. The giants of the video game industry — Microsoft, Nintendo, Twitch and Activision — have thrived in the conditions created by the pandemic. In April, the number of subscribers to Microsoft’s Game Pass service crossed 10 million. Similarly, Nintendo’s new game “Animal Crossing: New Horizon” has sold close to 13.5 million copies since its release in late March. Lots of games have picked up in terms of the number of people playing them. Gaming has become a way of filling the void of that social life that people don’t have at the moment. It is becoming a way to get over that social distance.
The renewed interest in gaming is changing the tech ecosystem of the industry. The video game industry has always been about innovation. With an increasing number of people playing games, the demand for more immersive entertainment is also rising. The future of the video game industry looks bright.
The days of pixelated screens and limited sounds are a distant memory as video games have become more lifelike than ever. By the end of this year, both Sony and Microsoft plan to launch their next-generation video game consoles: the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, respectively. Both the consoles are confirmed of using the ray tracing tech. This simple yet ingenuous piece of tech simulates the path of light travelling from a light source in a game (such as a bulb, fire or the sun) more accurately than conventional video game lighting. The difference of using ray tracing is staggering. Shadows cast from objects often or harden depending on how far away from the object you are.
Increasingly, many gaming companies are exploring authentic storylines. For instance, take Sucker Punch Production’s newest offering, “Ghost of Tsushima. Set in feudal Japan, the game is about a Samurai who evolves and turns into a ghost overtime. The game developers reached out to experts in different fields to help guide them in how to do things correctly from architectural standards to how people would move in the time or how clothes were created at the time. The result is the rich, detailed world we’ve glimpsed in trailers and gameplay videos.
Photorealistic graphics in games are becoming a new reality with an array of tools that are available to developers. In this regard, Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5 will impact the industry at all levels. The new version of its popular graphics engine will help achieve lifelike graphics in games, coming to the next-generation consoles like the PlayStation 5. Engine 5 takes geometry to new levels with its Nanite technology and the Lumen dynamic lightning technology (a newer version of ray tracing). But the tool aims to reduce the effort that goes into making high quality games. Developers can build their high-quality assets and the rest is taken care of by the engine. Developers don’t need to worry about polygon budgets and LODs.
The Unreal Engine 5 was recently revealed with a demo running on Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 5. The lifelike visuals blew everyone’s mind and gave a glimpse into what the next-generation hardware is capable of.
The global video game market is forecast to be worth $159 billion in 2020. The greater interest in gaming may accelerate a shift – already underway – towards the delivery of games via mobile and cloud-based platforms. Cloud gaming enables consumers to play streamed games across devices, often without the need for expensive hardware.
We should also expect to see a partnership between the gaming industry and other entertainment sector. Some games have become so popular that they are now a part of cultural discourse. Fortnite is good example of this pattern. The game has made a mark on music, television and sports. Fortnite had recently hosted a live rap concert that attracted almost 30 million live viewers.
The video game industry has always been about innovation. New technology, new controls, and new experiences are to be expected. The gaming experience is only going to get more innovative and more immersive with speedy gameplay.