Monday, 2 November 2009

A History of Computer Games; 2000 - the future...

Many games have been set in the 21st century (Metal Gear Solid, Duke Nukem 3D and the great war of the Fallout universe started on October 23, 2077), but now we are in the 21st century and playing 21st century games, so , how have games developed over the last few years? And, more importantly, where are they going?

I suppose in some sense games have taken a significant shift from being set in the distant future to being set either in the past, based on historic events i.e.; WWII or being set in the here and now, the present. We mustn’t forget also that games set in these other worldly, non-existent environments i.e.; Mario or Sonic have stuck around and we now see either updated versions of these ideas or new ones such as Ratchet and Clank or Little Big Planet.

I feel that from the begining of the 21st century we have seen a number of significant developments including a rapid growth of more powerful technology, which, continues to grow exponentially, an increased amount of interaction with games i.e.; force feedback, six-axis motion controllers and natural user interfaces provided by peripherals such as the Playstation Eye which uses gesture recognition technologies. As well as this I feel we have seen a growth of video games based on films, music and real life events such as sports events.

Businesses in every corner of the world have and always will be bombarded with constant pressure and there is no exception for the video games industry. Over the last few years the biggest fear for the games industry has been the ever increasing development and manufacturing costs and, partnered with the recent credit crunch has resulted in some huge financial losses as well as the loss of some publishers such as Free Radical and Midway. But, despite these economic pressures the games industry remains innovative and vibrant and gamers in the UK spent £2.7bn on gaming in the past year giving the games industry a huge boost in confidence.

So, where do we go from here? Well, for the moment I can’t see any radical changes for gaming in the next 10, 20 maybe even 30 years that aren’t obvious. Obviously the technology behind the games we play is going to continue to advance at a crazy rate; games will continue to grow in realism and for definite, in size. I feel that some radical changes we’ll begin to see is an ever increasing interaction between the game and the gamer (if you didn’t catch the Gadget Show episode on the future of gaming try and watch it, I think its series 12 episode 9) and in the near future I see games increasing into ever more realism as the technology behind our televisions begins to expand with the release of Sony’s OLED televisions as well as a shift into 3D video games.

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