Gaming is one of the fastest moving industries around, with the latest generation of consoles and new innovations such as Oculus Rift expanding what’s possible in the world of video games. The O2 Gurus investigate what the future could hold for gaming at this year’s Gadget Show Live.
The sprawling gaming zone at this year’s Gadget Show Live is testament to the evolving nature of video games. Offering something for everyone, from the hardcore enthusiast to the casual gamer, there’s something new and exciting everywhere you look. The event is a great opportunity for game developers to show off the capabilities of the latest generation of consoles after the release of the Xbox One and Playstation 4 in November last year and it certainly got us excited about the future of gaming.
A wide selection of blockbuster console games is available for punters to get their hands on, including Titanfall, Forza Motorsport 5 and FIFA 14. But what’s getting everyone buzzing is the world exclusives of two of the biggest games set for release in 2014; Sniper Elite 3 and Evolve. The opportunity to be one of the first people in the world to play these new titles was simply too good to miss.
The first thing you notice on both these games is the big upgrade in graphics on the new generation of consoles. These games are some of the first to fully test the graphical capabilities of next generation consoles, and the results are stunning. Evolve in particular was designed to be exclusively available on for next-gen consoles and PCs due to the intense graphics requirements of the game. Similarly, Sniper Elite 3 makes the most of the famously beautiful Cry Engine to recreate detailed desert environments from World War II.
Online multiplayer is transforming the way gamers play and interact with each other, allowing players to compete and co-operate with others from around the world. These two titles show how multiplayer is an integral part of modern gaming and its potential to create new gaming experiences.
Sniper Elite 3 has an in-depth multiplayer feature and is the first in the series to include online multiplayer at launch. Evolve, however, takes online multiplayer to a new level. The game is exclusively played in an online environment with innovative 4vs1 first and third person shooter gameplay. A team of four human players must team up has to take down a powerful monster controlled by another player. The emphasis is on working together to succeed, with each playing choosing a separate, but equally vital, role from Assault, Medic, Trapper and Support. Gamers working together to achieve something bigger than any one player, is a growing trend in gaming and will only get bigger as gaming integrates further with social media and online communities.
It’s not just big budget blockbuster games on show though – a number of up-and-coming indie game developers also have the chance to make a name for themselves. Indie gaming has exploded in popularity in recent years as new technologies make it easier to design, fund and distribute games. Readily available development tools, such as Unity have allowed budding game designers to create high quality games in their bedrooms and platforms such as Steam for PC games and mobile app stores mean their creations can reach gamers around the world. Crowdfunding, in particular Kickstarter, has opened new funding possibilities, allowing developers to reach out to fans who want to invest and see their games come to life. The result is that indie gaming is arguably leading the way when it comes to gaming innovation.
One emerging trend is dual screening, which is being taken to the next level with Salvaged, created by indie developer Opposable Games. It’s played on PC but controlled using your tablet – you control a team of four characters simultaneously and must navigate them through increasingly complex and difficult levels, exploring abandoned space ships for loot, using an innovative interface on your tablet. Through touch screen controls, the game sets out to create an immersive experience that would feel natural to players. The dual screen controls took a little while to get used to, but the simple touch screen interface soon felt natural. With Salvaged still in development, it was impressive to see what the team have already created, making us excited about the potential of dual screen gaming.
The other indie game that really caught our eye was Ether One from White Paper games. The game’s creator was inspired “the fragility of the human mind” and conditions like dementia to create a unique narrative focused game where the player must piece together memories and solve puzzles to unfold the story. But, what makes the game stand out is its use of new technology, particularly Oculus Rift. The virtual reality headset, which was bought by Facebook earlier this year, is the most exciting piece of kit to hit the games industry for some time and developers are experimenting with it to create amazing immersive experiences.
The Oculus is perfect for a game like Either One, as you feel as though you are stepping into the dreamlike game world when you put it on. Coupled with some serious gaming headphones it achieves unparalleled immersion, cutting out the outside world completely. Seeing how indie and mainstream games developers use the Oculus Rift to push the boundaries of gaming is certainly something we are looking forward to.
The Gadget Show Live has got us really excited about the future of gaming and the industry is more vibrant with creative and technical talent than ever. Let us know what most excites you about the future of gaming on our Twitter @O2.