Some people claim augmented reality could change the way we view the world. But what is it, how does it work, and is it really worth getting excited about?
As a consumer, video games are a fantastic investment. Considering how much use a good game and a good console or computer will get, the monetary outlay is more than justified. At about $50 a time, games are expensive as an individual cost. But consider t 30-40+ hours sunk into a blockbuster game with an expansive story. That actually works out at roughly $1 per hour of enjoyment. When framed this way gaming seems extremely good value for money.
The ability to stream in high definition over the internet has affected the world in many ways. It has brought us the ability to watch live sports from our smartphones, it means we can communicate with friends and relatives across the globe and it has given us the ability to sit in our armchairs with controller in hand and play tactical warm games halfway across the globe. The socialization of gaming is one of the biggest industries to come out of the internet. Just consider for a moment blockbuster games have, for nearly a decade, made comfortably more money than any equivalent movie release.
The online gaming industry was worth $100 billion last year, and it’s constantly expanding. As domestic hardware and network infrastructures improve, there are fewer logistical issues preventing people from playing on portable devices. The mature desktop and console game markets have been joined by a burgeoning mobile sector worth over $36 billion, ranging from augmented reality titles to classic platform and puzzle games.
Let’s start with a little clarity. There are now a number of definitions for cloud gaming, but back in 2009 at the Game Developer’s Conference there was just one. And ONLIVE was the definitive article. Cloud gaming or game streaming, was an emerging technology that allowed users to control video games via the internet. The games themselves were actually running on super-spec ultra PCs that could be half a planet away. The concept was ingenious. It opened the elite top tier of gaming to keyboard jockeys who could access the latest games with nothing more complicated than a screen and the internet.
It’s no accident that gaming has become a billion dollar industry. As human beings, there is something innately compelling about games that allow us to travel to different worlds and immerse ourselves in a new digital reality. We can fight intergalactic wars, play as our favorite football players and explore vast worlds. When you pick up an RPG, it can be immensely satisfying to sink time into fleshing out your character, just as it can be satisfying to hold off your enemy under hails of gunfire in an online multiplayer. But how do game developers keep us hooked?
The answer to this question is: when it’s 2017. No, it’s not a joke, these days you no longer need anything as complicated or as cool as a PS4 to get in on the PlayStation world. You might wonder why Sony, the wizard behind PS4’s curtain, has allowed its exclusive content to fall into the hands of anyone with fiber optic and twitchy fingers and well, the jury’s still out. But a little bit of speculation, a closed beta test and the rumor mill, can confirm that this is soon to be the case.
In our childhoods, we fantasized about being paid to play the games we love. Today gaming is a very serious business, meaning that such dream can be a reality for the truly hard working and talented gamers. According to Forbes, “esports has exploded worldwide, and with it, there’s an entire class of 15-30 year olds who now play games for a living.” So what exactly does it mean to be a pro-gamer?