Gaming has gone a long way since its debut back in the 1950s, from analog oscilloscopes to modern graphics so realistic that people do a double take and ponder for a moment whether it’s actually a video recording in real life. Even now we can already catch a glimpse of what gaming is evolving into. You may not have immediately noticed it, but as you read this very sentence, more and more games are gradually following the trend.
Model: Games as a Service
The games as a service model only recently became trending, but it has been around 2004. Games of this category are often free-to-play games that feature microtransactions, DLCs, and ads to provide revenue for the game. Considering War of Warcraft is still the most populated MMORPG at 130 million players nearly two decades since its release, they’re doing something right.
Live-service games boast several features that make them more appealing vs. traditional games. Traditional games are often paid, which can spook players new to the franchise or those simply not interested enough to spend money on a game they aren’t sure of. Live games are free, which entices everyone to try them out without any cost and see if it’s to their liking. Then if a player deems the game a worthy source of entertainment, there are microtransactions and DLCs available for them to get the full experience and for the developer to be rewarded for their efforts. Most live-service games require an internet connection to be played, which allows developers to incorporate ads to boost their revenue, as well as frequently implement new content updates that are responsible for the longevity and continued monetization of a game.
The games as a service model has received so much success that even big-time game corporations are considering shifting away from their traditional styles to take advantage of the rising trend. Sony, a famous developer of single-player games for PlayStation, just announced that they are shifting their focus and will dedicate more resources to live-service games than single-player titles. This is a big and risky move for Sony, to abandon a time and tested model for an entirely new one. Sony Interactive Entertainment shares that currently, 12 live-service games are in the works and are scheduled to be released in 2026.
Place: The Comfort of Anywhere
No longer are we confined to staying at home to access our Steam Library or go through our favorite PlayStation games. Even in the past, there have been numerous attempts to balance the portability of gaming devices with performance. Thanks to advancements in technology, even Thanos will be impressed with the level of balance now present in today’s hand-held consoles. From Steam Deck with its own powerful processors to Sony’s PS5 PlayStation Portal that utilize Cloud streaming to run high-end games with stunning graphics, portable consoles are on the rise and rapidly gaining popularity once again. Even smartphones can smoothly run intense FPS games such as Call of Duty: Mobile anywhere and anytime.
Aside from being able to conveniently play outside our homes, today’s technology allows us to play in the comfort of our own homes, or still outside if that’s what you prefer. Certain games such as arcade or casino games who once demanded our attendance in certain venues can now be accessed wherever we want. If you’re a Canadian in a foreign land and feeling homesick, you can visit the best online casinos in Ontario without having to book a single plane ticket. These sites come with reviews, ratings, and even bigger bonuses than traditional casinos to provide an amazing gaming experience.
One of gaming’s most integral assets is immersion, and the development of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality has done wonders in emphasizing that. While many have heard of VR, the term Augmented Reality is foreign to some. Essentially, VR brings you into the game’s world, where you can interact with the game and its entities in a fictional reality, and AR brings the game’s world to where you are now. One of AR’s pioneers, Pokemon Go, is one such good example where the magical creatures known as Pokemon pop up in your phone’s camera.
Virtual Reality takes the spot for being more immersive than the two, but Augmented Reality grants you more freedom, sociability, and accessibility. Big game developers such as Ubisoft have dipped their toes in a pure VR game with Assassin’s Creed Nexus. Even indie developers have already started developing VR ports of their games such as Green Hell and Subnautica. AR, on the other hand, may not be able to compete with VR’s all-consuming immersion, but has been a roaring success as the social aspect of people gathering in one place to collectively play a game compensates for the slight decrease in immersion.
Future: Coming Soon
What began as a device to help pass the time has now evolved to a medium where players can almost literally live in an entirely new world. With other technologies in the work such as the Metaverse and AI in gaming, it becomes rather difficult in what shape or form gaming in the future will look like.