How Will Multiplayer Gaming Evolve Over the Next Decade?
Multiplayer gaming is one of the best ways to while away a few hours in the fantasy world of your choice. Maybe you like the idea of being a soldier in a battalion fighting for the honor of your king. Maybe you like to zoom through the galaxy, looking for undiscovered planets to explore and colonize. Maybe you like learning to farm, drive a tank, operate a submarine, or build a house…whatever you like to do, there’s a multiplayer game out there that will scratch that itch. FIFA games, World of Warcraft, Counterstrike, Overwatch, Diablo…multiplayer gaming has come a long way. In the world of technology, though, coming a long way doesn’t mean you’ve “made it”. Since technology is always growing and evolving, the gaming industry operates in an industry where goalposts are constantly moving. Augmented reality, virtual reality, the coming of the Metaverse, and the coming wave of movement from physical PCs to cloud-based gaming are all things that are going to guide and influence the growth of multiplayer games and gaming. Let’s take a look at how we see these exciting future prospects changing the course of the multiplayer gaming industry as we know it today.
VR and AR
For many people, the concepts of VR and AR are still only that: concepts. The equipment required to fully immerse yourself and your teammates in a VR or AR gaming experience is still in relatively short supply and very costly where it can be found. As with all new technologies, the more AR and VR equipment is worked on and evolves, the lower the costs and access to this technology will become, resulting in far more widespread usage. Once more gamers are in a place to be able to own or rent this equipment, the shift in multiplayer gaming will be swift and dramatic. Gamers will move from interacting with their teammates over apps like Discord or in-game chats, to seeing them in their environment when they aren’t in the same room together. Virtual reality will bring players into a virtual space where they can all interact with a fantasy world in the same way they would interact with things in the real world. Augmented reality is on the opposite end of the scale as it will bring the game world into the players’ real worlds. The best current example of this is the Pokemon Go game that was all the rage a few years back. Imagine the creative, educational and physical fitness applications that technology like this could have!
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Just like VR and AR, daily and practical application of the Metaverse is still a long way off. For people who are scratching their heads at the mention of this phrase, here’s the breakdown.
The metaverse is still essentially a theory at this point. It is the idea of an entirely interconnected virtual world comprising everything on the internet and using both AR and VR to immerse users completely into the experience. An excellent example of this concept, though with a slightly apocalyptic twist, is the film Ready Player One. Users don suits and headsets to experience their favorite games more fully, to try clothing on online rather than just checking the measurements, to buy “in-game” products that are usable only in the Metaverse, not the physical world, etc. The metaverse will take social connection through a digital medium to the next level and allow us to interact with each other in game worlds in a whole new way.
Though cloud gaming, like everything else we’re mentioned so far, is in its infancy, it’s growing fast. Cloud gaming will influence multiplayer gaming in that gamers will no longer require an expensive console or pc setup to play the highest quality games. The difference between cloud and physical machine gaming is that cloud gaming operates and stores the game in a cloud server rather than taking up space on your device. This will give more gamers access to a larger number of high-quality games. The more games you have access to, the more fun you can have online with your teammates.
It’s hard to say exactly what the next decade will bring from multiplayer gaming because technology grows and changes so quickly. What we can say with some certainty is that the next ten years holds a lot of excitement for gamers all over the world.