Since the early 1900s, the progression of gaming has reflected the development of technology. Today, trends in platforms and development, such as mobile and cloud computing, indicate how the industry will move forward.
- The state of platforms
- The developer perspective
- Multiple uses of cloud within gaming
- Additional gaming forecasts
- Cloud hosting for your gaming company
As you may have noticed, gaming has made significant advances since the original arcade games were built toward the beginning of the 20th century. Starting out with pinball machines and advancing toward virtual reality, the history of gaming is essentially a mirror of technological innovations up to the present.
It’s of course easier to review what’s happened with gaming than it is to forecast how it will develop in the future. Nonetheless, the technologies that are being used increasingly today give us a good idea of how gaming will look in the years ahead.
The state of platforms
Just like most people have moved on from pinball machines at the arcade, we have also left behind playing Snake on our Nokia phones. The much more sophisticated graphics and gameplay, enabled by the performance of both dedicated systems and cloud hosting, have made mobile gaming much more user-friendly.
Mobile games run on various operating systems, with app stores on iOS, Windows, and Android. Android is the best option in terms of access, suggests Kira Bloom in Beta News. “Boasting the highest number of free games, Google Play offers developers much more flexibility in terms of developing for the Android platform,” she says. “Android users are even able to download directly from developers’ sites, which is strictly forbidden on iOS.” The benefit of iOS is stronger graphics, but it isn’t as easy to publish games because of the closed app store – which means there are less offerings for gamers.
As mobile has become more popular, computer games are no longer in nearly as wide of use, although distracted office workers can still get in a quick hand of solitaire. The downturn of the computer game market is indicated by the declining prominence of the Windows store.
Developers and gamers have moved away from Windows since the games are incompatible with other platforms, notes Ian Paul in PCWorld. “Windows Store games lack an EXE file so there’s no way to add these games to Steam and manage them there,” he says. “That means you can’t use the Steam overlay while in a Windows Store game, so you can’t access handy Steam features like screenshots or chatting with friends.”
While computer games are no longer given as much attention as alternatives, there are advantages. The screen is big, the performance level is high, battery life is more extended, and you can benefit from sites such as GOG. Plus, you can combine the platforms of PC and mobile via Andy OS. Using this program, you can use millions of Android mobile games via a computer. In other words, just because things are trending toward mobile does not mean that those who want to use their computers to play have to lose out.
The gaming console was initially introduced in the 1960s, so kids who used those first consoles are retiring, and the devices have gone through decades of innovation. Since the console now has had a user base for so long, developers have become more confident about them and have turned to a greater degree of transparency. Gamers can now stream developments, which is both a form of promotion and a way to get a real-time understanding of the community reception: developers can learn what users want as they fine-tune.
The developer perspective
Coders typically will use the same basic patterns and principles to develop, regardless of the platform, such as mobile, web, console, or VR headset. More than anything, people who create games want the best possible performance.
In the past, games were almost always native. Now, however, developers are increasingly using generalized frameworks, notes Bloom. “Native game development is great in terms of creating a brand new, visually appealing and smooth running game but it is pricey to say the least,” she says. “Building an entire game from scratch requires multiple developers and is time consuming.”
Beyond the move away from native development, coders also have access to source code libraries, so there is a strong foundation at the beginning. Source code allows for much greater efficiency, meaning that programmers can zero in on the details, resulting in a richer and more compelling gamer experience.
Again, the evolution of games basically follows the evolution of technology – and one of the most important recent tech advances is cloud computing. Infrastructure-as-a-service and other cloud tools have matured significantly since their inception, and that makes it a good fit for the style-specific needs of individual coders, notes Bloom. “No longer simplistic, cloud computing is preferable in its complex form as it enables much more flexibility for the developer in terms of storage,” she says. “More complex cloud computing means more efficient coders.”
Beyond development: uses of the cloud for gaming
The use of cloud hosting within gaming goes beyond its obvious implications regarding a broader toolset for developers. Here are a few examples from Rick Delgado of Social Media Today:
- Storing games – Cloud hosting is used by gamers to store copies of their games.
- Boosting power – The cloud is used for consoles, to amplify their processing capabilities (as with the 300,000 cloud servers used to improve performance of the Xbox One). For example, physics modeling and cloth motion can be handled via cloud hosting so that gameplay isn’t 100% reliant on a standalone machine.
- Delivering games – Currently, games are often either purchased as physical copies or downloaded from dedicated systems. Cloud will fast become the standard delivery model.
- Streaming in real-time & updates – Cloud hosting will increasingly be used for real-time streaming to gamers’ TVs and computers. Additionally, games will be expanded and updated over time via the distributed technology (such as AI updates or additional content).
Additional gaming forecasts
The virtual reality headset Oculus Rift is new, but sales are high. Due to this success, VR cloud computing could be next – which would mean that the game is streamed straight to the headset. “This makes VR more reasonably priced, thus becoming more accessible to the general population,” says Bloom. “It is an exciting prospect that we not only hope to see in the future, but see as a very viable option for the future.”
The Nintendo Miitomo mobile platform is changing the nature of online social interaction. As games are added, social exchanges via mobile games will follow a similar pattern as we see in the extension of physical reality to the virtual one.
In terms of coders, college degrees are quickly become unnecessary. Instead, programmers are choosing to go to coding bootcamps. It’s true hands-on learning. Examples are Elevation Academy in Israel, Maker’s Academy in London, and Coding Dojo in Silicon Valley.
“With developers graduating from coding courses every day,” says Bloom, “it’s exciting to see what the future will look like in terms of game development.”
Cloud hosting for your gaming company
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