The Future of Gaming: VR, AR and Whatnot

The Future of Gaming is Now

The Future of Gaming super mario 2
Concept Art by Aron Jasinski

Throughout my entire childhood I had hoped that the day would come when I would get a chance to slip in a red shirt and blue overalls, with a matching hat on, and fight dragons and walking mushrooms for a living. Well, not really. Nevertheless, it seems that very soon I will have the opportunity to try out the next best thing – getting under Mario’s skin. In a completely benignant way.  Want to know how? Keep reading.

The statistics say that nine out of ten kids spend at least some of their free time playing on their gaming consoles and PCs, on a daily basis. It is evident that there is a large market for the gaming consoles and games in general; and it is also evident that this market is on the continuous growth for decades now. How big that market might be, one would ask? Well, in the first quarter of the year 2015, the company Blizzard made a total of $1.28 billion. o yeah, it is that big. And if you didn’t know, now you do – there is some serious money in gaming.

As kids, we already had the opportunity to witness renowned companies like SEGA and Nintendo going at it, fighting the good fight for our hearts and wallets. Nintendo drops the Street Fighter, Sega drops Mortal Kombat; Sega drops Sonic, Nintendo waves Mario in their faces and so on. But it’s good to have some healthy competition, otherwise we would still play Galaga till this day. So what’s the competition doing now? Well, whether you are a member of the PC master race or you love consoles, you are about to find out what awaits us in the close future of gaming.

Oculus Rift + EVE Valkyrie

A few weeks back, we announced that the pre-release of Eve Valkyrie will be available for all proud owners of the Oculus VR headset. It is evident that Virtual Reality has become the next big thing, and companies like Google, HTC and Apple are already working on an answer that should match the current popularity of Oculus. Allegedly, Oculus Rift is getting the most support from the developers, but the gaming community isn’t that happy with its price, which is $599 plus taxes and shipment. So hopefully, the competition will provide us with a more economical solution, but will this solution provide us with the same quality of performance? Nothing left but to wait and see.

The reason more to get this headset (other then getting a free copy of EVE Valkyrie along with it) is definitely ADR1FT. In Adr1ft, a game specially designed for Oculus Rift, player assumes the role of an astronaut, floating in space and exploring the wreckage that used to be his ship. This FPX mystery will transport you out of the orbit, and in order to survive you will have to solve puzzles, crack patterns and find out what was the cause behind the wreckage.

Oculus’s very own Luckey Palmer, claims that the price of this system is reasonable, considering the investment and the ability of Oculus Rift. Price on the side, it does look impressive, one has to admit that. It sort of looks like that thing that Keanu had to wear in Matrix. Speaking of Matrix and VR, check this out.

So let’s have a look at that high tech gaming wonder. Here we have the EVE: Valkyrie game capture video from the official pre-alpha testing on a VR Oculus headset. Of course the experience just isn’t the same but you can at least have a sneak peek. And if you were one of the testers, do us a favor and review this game in our EVE section.

Microsoft’s IllumiRoom (AR)

The next item on our list of future gaming devices  is the Microsoft’s Research AR project. This system should project the image from the game that you are playing, all around your television sett. Does that make any sense? Let me try again: The current proof-of-concept uses your Kinect sensor to measure your room, and a video projector to create the illusion of the environment in your very room. The Kinect sensor captures all the geometry and colors surrounding your television set, and the projector displays the video around the screen, while you are playing a game. How about now, is it more clearer? Nope? Maybe this video will help.

To be quite honest, this seems like a sideshow act on a fair when compared to Oculus VR. Maybe I’m just the wrong audience and this is intended for a somewhat younger crowd. Nevertheless, I’m not predicting a bright future for this gaming device. In my opinion, the Augmented Reality platforms and games should stick to Android and iOS apps.

Gaming as a Service

It seems that we are moving our entire lives up in the clouds. With so many platforms available in this format, it was only a matter of time when will someone get the idea to offer Gaming as a Service, or Cloud Gaming. However, this type of gaming isn’t a novelty, it’s been around for a decade believe it or not. Back in 2011, a company named Gaikai offered a video streaming service, instead of a usual file streaming, and made games like Dead Space 2 and Mass Effect 2 available on any device that could get online. The only thing that you need is a browser and you can play really demanding games on a $100 tablet. Of course, this ambitious project hasn’t went unnoticed. The Sony Computer Entertainment acquired the Gaikai company in 2012.

In the very close future, you probably won’t have to spend a fortune on a decent gaming device. All that you will require is some form of a receiver and you can stream your games directly from the server. No lagging, no poor performance, you can just log in and play awesome games without an actual device in front of you to hurt it physically when things go wrong. Sort of like that OnLive console that was semi-popular a years months ago. What has happened to OnLive one might ask? Nothing happened, Sony got to them.

Nintendo Wii U, the successor of the now famous Nintendo Wii, is one of the most popular consoles out there. As of September 2015, a total of 10.73 million consoles were sold worldwide. Since you can get this device for a total of $300, and you can play all of your Wii games on it as well, the Wii U is a must have for Nintendo fans.

Surpassing  the Experience

So, yeah, the competition is fierce. But in addition to that, the latest trend coming from Nintendo, the Mario Maker, is bringing us a completely new experience in gaming. Now even average gamers can be developers, and while it took months and years for Shigery Miyamoto to build Super Mario, you can build a level within 10 minutes. Evidently, this trend should continue to rise in the years to come, and Nintendo should still remain as one of the best providers on the market. Their 2012 release, Nintendo Wii U, certainly gives us a yet unseen concept of playing games. You can actually use your Wii U as a secondary screen for the inventory listings, options, and and almost everything else. Not to mention that this thing is a playing console of its own.

It gets even better

In all honesty, we can still play all of the aforementioned games, and a great deal of FoH’s favorite games (damn you Eve) on our little above average PCs. Right now I’m looking into purchasing an MSI GTX 970 4G gfx card and a decent Samsung SSD of 500GB, so Oculus Rift will still remain an unavailable dream for now. But with Google fiber coming along, and stuff like eye tracking controls for games already available, I am going to be honest and say that I have no idea what will the future of gaming look like. I guess my grandparents couldn’t imagine iPhone just a few decades ago, and the thought of having some high-tech mask that transports me to another world is one futuristic gaming concept enough for me.

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George is an avid blogger, a fiction writer in his own spare time, a content marketer during the day and a manager of the FoH website. A book nut, a movie nut and everything space nut, who loves to talk about himself in third person. He's awesome.

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