As we set forth onto a new era of gaming, where devices such as the Oculus rift, and other headset virtual reality devices that intend to break new grounds in the realm of gaming by delivering a newly improved experience through Virtual Reality. Where is it that today’s gamer can see the future of video gaming heading to? The current era gaming, can perhaps be seen as somewhat of a detached experience. Although the players feel and experiences as their own, the control is limited to handheld peripherals. With the advances which we are seeing now, such as the testing of such VR devices and other peripherals, we are being presented with the beginnings of a completely new gaming era. One where the gaming is much more intimate, and much more involving of the human senses. Where the players utilizing such devices can experience what’s happening first handily in front their eyes while being completely absorbed and immersed in the game. The real life way players move, being relayed exactly the same way in game. This factor now makes that of gaming avatars and the human counterparts now one. It’s a truly a fascinating thing, and something of great things to come for the world of gaming. Quite possibly a day where handheld controlling devices become obsolete even. A time where the control of in game avatars, and experiences could be just as real as actual life, in certain aspects. Would this be a good thing for gaming, or could it prove for overall negative, even possibly dire consequences?
Through anime shows such as Sword Art Online we can see examples of these such negative consequences. Consequences that have been written since the beginning of science fiction stories. Where computers take control of man, technology takes over, causing our over ambitiousness to fire back against us. As demonstrated in Sword Art Online, a show based off of the fact that virtual reality MMO players actually get stuck in the realm of the game due to some very malicious hackers. And dying while in game results in their death in real life. The reality of such negative connotations, is just eventually bound to happen. It’s in human nature for man to push the limits of technology, or anything that can be improved for that matter, to it’s absolute limits. This although this isn’t a completely bad thing, but it does have it’s negative draw backs. A future in which games are technically injected into the mind through neuroconnection, that are able to effect the psyche is both very interesting, as well as frightening.
Simply imagining being consumed in a world where games are as realistic to the minds, or even more vivid than dreams, is an amazing concept indeed. Something to counter such a concept however, could be the fact that multi-tasking would be impossible. As all of the users attention would be put one hundred percent into gaming. The user’s body utilized entirely by the game, which would leave them uselessly trapped in a dream like state. Tasks such as, listening for phone calls, cooking, or watching kids etc wouldn’t be possible. Sure this might seem enthralling to the truly dedicated gamers out there, but what of the rest of the gaming population?
If serious game franchises did truly take to the direction of full immersion gameplay, it would likely alienate much of the gaming community. Also to go along with that, how many of us would really want to be full committed to gaming? Where typical responsibilities such dealing with our overall health, excising, eating, or just walking around to get fresh air or to stretch muscles would have to be completely forgotten. To the most dedicated gamer, games such as this would have to be even more important to the players than actual reality, simply because nothing else could be accomplished while playing. Real life social interactions, pursuing other interests, handling responsibilities would all have to come second to gaming. These facts could also bring some very negative adverse effects to serious players, as bodies would suffer effects similar to comatose patients, making atrophy of the muscles a huge issue to worry about. Sure utilizing our brainwaves, and putting gamers into a dream state to fully immerse them into gaming might seem like the next advancing step, but it’s also worth nothing that it isn’t to say controller based gameplay doesn’t carry it’s benefits. This is apparent, especially when factoring all of the above in taking to make that point.
While the harnessment of the entire human psyche in order to create a fully immersive gameplay is not something that is available at the moment, there are definitely key examples that display the potential future of VR gaming. Examples such as the Oculus Rift of course. A headset device in development which will allow full gyroscopic control of visual gaming perspective which will give users the full illusion of being in an entirely different world. Another example is the Neurosky controller, available now, which is a headset that is able to measure the user’s brainwave levels. The peripheral uses these brainwave measurements as direct influence of virtual attributes, which varies the action of those virtual objects. For example the more a player concentrates on doing a certain task, the more it influences the certain action, i.e. using a high amount of concentration to bounce a ball higher into the air.
This method of control utilizing a brainwave measuring controller is pretty nice, although it’s more or less simply only that of a tool, as it only effects virtual influence, and not that of actual actions. Undeniably though, from this piece of hardware, there will eventually come a device that will be able to use human thoughts to control objects in the actual game, far fetched as it may be, it could be possible one day. This reality would seem slightly more attractive than that of full dream-state immersion. It’s also actually more attractive to think that, perhaps using such a “brain-controller” while still viewing the game on screen in a traditional manner would be the new form of play, instead of the total use of the human psyche. Of course it could also be possible that a visual perception device, that also uses the mind to control will also be a form of gaming in the future. One that will immerse the player in gameplay, while still leaving them fully conscious to that of the world around them. It’s safe to assume that such a device would most likely be connected to a CPU device, that would handle the actual game processing, as this would only be practical.
There are also other negative aspects to be factored in along with full VR gaming. For example, this would be a rather lazy way to play games, as the player would only have to sit, and have his or her mind read to accomplish something in a virtual gaming world. Not to mention the possibility of devious exploits, but simply where would be the fun in such laid back gaming? Overall playing this way could quite possibly leave the player feeling very tired, as it would obviously drain a lot from the player to have to concentrate so hard for hours on end. It could also get boring, if simply just from the inactivity of the body. For a device that could read your mind and influence a virtual avatar to act accordingly, there would be nothing needed from the player in the actual world. No need for fast twitch fingers, no need to practice honing physical abilities to allow for better play. What of a players bragging rights? Seeing as how everyone would be on an even playing field, as all of the control would come from your thoughts, and anything worth bragging on would only be your in game attributes; Such as your personal character “strength” and “agility” or that of your character’s specific level. The celebrities of the gaming world, that are able to use their quick fingers, and reactions to perform amazing gaming feats simply would no longer exist, simply rendered obsolete. The only factor that would divide the field of players would be simply time put in, such as the higher level characters vs that of lower level characters, not that of each players individual skill. This would leave most of the more casual gamers out of the larger community of “real gaming”, as there would be no room for weakly attributed player avatars.
Such a thing could drastically change gaming as stands in history, as any person not devoting the time to become a pro would have no space on the playing field. There is of course an example of this in today’s world of gaming, but in a world where gaming would rely solely on number values and not physical reflexes, this could prove to be a much more drastic problem for hobbyist gamers of the future. Possibly taking idea of a gaming community from that of a widely exercised activity, to that of an activity only available for the most serious of players, aside from that of more “kid-friendly” applications. For in order to become highly praised in the world of gaming, one would really have no choice but to devote all of their time to gaming. The likes of which could even create a somewhat of a new sub-class of humans even. Those who don’t play games, and those who devote their entire existence in virtual reality gaming people who didn’t exist in the real world, only in that of the virtual. Scary as it may be, it would present to be a real possibility in such a world.
Although, this could be the reality in which we are moving forward to, it’s a world far into the future. As the only examples of such realities available now, are devices and apps that only preform simple conceptual tasks, such as the ones previously mentioned. As complex as the technology to create such pieces of hardware may be, the concepts are still however, quite simple and are mostly basic peripherals that accomplish simple tasks. It is also still apparent, that even with the advancement of technology, older pieces of equipment from previous eras do still stick around. As many players still own many of their old systems, and do play them with regularity. This could also be such a case in the future of gaming, as those who wont fit into such a serious world of gaming might prefer that of the simpler consoles from the past. Quite possibly even sparking an indie market of sorts, where just as their are 2D games influenced by the past, there could be consoles that only use controllers and such to keep previous playing traditions and styles in tact.
We cannot be quite sure which direction gaming will take as the years pass by, but it’s indeed interesting to see the advances in technology that precede one another. As gamers are highly adaptable, and most have their own styles and personalities, it will ultimately be the gamers themselves that determine what sticks and what doesn’t. As a shiny new complex piece of equipment with a fast array of features has no use if no-one wants to play with it.
Here’s to enjoying the ever advancing future of gaming, and technology!