Computer gaming has been an industry that has relied on technology to evolve and develop. Ever since the first computer system was released it has been dependent on technology available at the time. As time goes by and technology continues to advance, what impact will this have on the gaming industry?
Back In The Day
The idea of the first ever computer can be traced back to the 17th century when author Richard Braithwait referred to humans as computers in his book The Yong Mans Gleanings that was published in 1613. From that very moment, computers became a part of humanity and their development became reliant on the technology available.
It was not until the 19th century that an English mechanical engineer called Charles Babbage invented the first mechanical computer. This led to Babbage becoming labelled as the “Father of the Computer”. From this point on, computers would forever become entwined with human technology and progress.
It was then in 1941 when German engineer Konrad Zuse developed the Z3 which was the world's first ever electromechanical programmable fully automatic digital computer. Things would never be the same again for the computer industry.
The Dawn of Computer Gaming
The idea of using computers for gaming only became a realisation in 1958 when an American physicist called William Higinbotham developed the Tennis for Two game. The game resembled the appearance of a radar and is often forgotten as the first ever computer game in favour of the more popular Pong that was released 14 years later in 1972 by developer Atari. The release of the Magnavox Odyssey just months later would bring computer console gaming into the homes of the public for the first time.
The Next Step of Evolution for Computer Gaming
Home-based computer consoles revolutionized gaming. The 1970s saw personal computers enter the market with the likes of IBM5100 and RadioShack's TRS-80 hitting the shelves. The development of the floppy disk by IBM also meant data could now be shared between computers and would be later used to host games for use on personal computers.
1976 was the year that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak established Apple Computers and launched the Apple I. This was a watershed moment for the computer gaming industry because it was the infancy of the brand that would later play a key role in evolving mobile gaming through the Apple iStore.
By the time the 1990s had arrived, personal computers were seen as gaming machines. Titles such as Championship Manager, Theme Park, Command and Conquer, and Doom sapped hours from the lives of those gamers addicted to the games they were playing. Computer gaming was now well and truly in the main stream with console gaming development also meaning that developers such as Nintendo, SEGA, and Sony were releasing devices with state-of-the-art graphics and gameplay on an annual basis.
New Millennium Gaming
Technology was soon seen as a way for developers to get a competitive edge over their rivals. After decades of simply improving graphics and gameplay it was felt that the 21st century would be used as an opportunity to explore technological advancement when it came to computer gaming.
EA Sports began to use motion-capture technology to deliver more realistic character movements in their games. Voice recordings were adapted to big game titles so that developers could use the voices of Hollywood A-listers. The Call of Duty series has established a reputation for doing this with previous actors to put their voice to the series including Ed Harris, Gary Oldman, and Sam Worthington.
Motion sensors have also been incorporated into computer gaming. The Nintendo Wii console was released in 2006 and went on to sell over 101 million units worldwide. It gave users a hand controller to actively become involved in the games on the console. This was rivalled by the Playstation's Move controller and the Microsoft Xbox Kinect sensor.
The Renaissance of Virtual Reality
Even though virtual reality and computer gaming endured a turbulent period in the 1990s when SEGA released the SEGA VR and Nintendo launched the Virtual Boy, there has been a revival of the technology over recent years.
A number of developers have put faith and confidence back into the technology with devices such as the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and Playstation VR taking virtual reality to a whole new level with the most realistic graphics and game play to date.
Virtual reality has also been backed to invade the online and mobile gaming market. Casinos have adopted the technology to offer players a more authentic gaming experience. Slotsmillion has already released a virtual casino and casino software developer NetEnt has stated an intent to move into the virtual reality domain to release new slots titles. It is still going to be a while till casino gaming is fully integrated in VR, but many online casinos are still trying to perfect the online gaming experience for the user, let alone Virtual Reality. Even though you aren’t able to feel like you're in a casino yet, you can still get the same buzz of winning real money from the comfort of your home. With being play in more markets like Australia, Canada, USA and being able to play on mobile devices like iPhone and Android,online casino gaming is on the up.
Computer Gaming Technology in the Future
The sky truly is the limit for developers when it comes to progressing the potential of computer gaming. Virtual reality technology has shown that we have entered a new age for gaming. The imminent introduction of 5G internet and next generation computer consoles means that technology continues to evolve.
As social interaction plays a key role in computer gaming and the desire to make games feel more real remains a mission objective for software developers the world over the future for the industry is very exciting. The future use of nanotechnology has even been mentioned by some developers. It could very well be that in the future technology makes it so that defining a difference between computer games and reality will become a lot harder than it is now. Perhaps, one day, there will not be any difference at all.