Immersion is the new keyword in the gaming sphere. Long story short, the more highly-realistic and engaging a video game, the more immersive the experience for gamers. From tightly-written plot points to fully fleshed-out and relatable characters, not to mention extremely lifelike graphics, many features allow gamers to feel transported in an alternative universe as believable as it is attractive.
Sometimes, players can even soak up an all-virtual environment without leaving their gaming chair, if not while commuting to work. Others may feel like role-playing their way around an open world, staying in character to reinforce the immersion.
And technological progress has played an instrumental role in taking immersion up a notch. So, let’s check out three tech trends breaking boundaries in the gaming medium.
Virtual reality was the talk of the town in recent years, fueled by the metaverse hype. Fast-forward to 2023, and metaverse projects are slowing down amidst growing skepticism and controversy. While some tech luminaries keep pushing in that direction, others unequivocally claim that the metaverse is dead in the water.
Admittedly, video games are still a long way from perfectly interactive virtual spaces where every last detail feels true to life. While there’s much ground to cover for the technology to unlock its full potential, however, virtual reality has made significant headway.
Fairly-priced VR headsets have amplified the technology’s mainstream adoption. Tech-savvy gamers looking forward to buying a mid-range headset can pick up devices that cost less than next-gen consoles like the PS5 or the Xbox Series. And it only takes wearing that helmet to blur the lines between the physical and the virtual.
In games like Star Wars: Squadrons, Elite: Dangerous VR, and Resident Evil 4 VR, players can really feel like piloting a spaceship or taking down hordes of scary zombies. Richer VR environments pose increasingly demanding challenges. They also contain more visual elements to elevate the storyline and boost up in-game engagement.
Artificial intelligence is nothing new in the gaming industry. Yet, the rise of ever-so-powerful generative AI tools has changed the game for good. Developers have started working on generative agents far removed from the rudimentary non-playable characters of old.
NPCs of the future may behave in more spontaneous ways than ever as generative architecture enables them to better perceive their surroundings. Soon enough, NPCs could even form complex relationships with one another and cooperate to plan cohesive actions.
Researchers at Google Research and Stanford University put that theory to the test in an open-world setting akin to that of the Sims. Sprinkling a tad of personality into their characters’ seed data, they watched some of these agents invite fellow NPC friends for a party and decorate the venue of their own volition.
Meanwhile, gaming giants like Ubisoft are rolling out advanced scriptwriting tools to polish NPC dialogues. In the gameplay department, studios may also leverage artificial intelligence to develop smarter opponents that adjust their strategies to the player’s moves in real-time.
Watching a video game without actually playing it might not fall under the immersive category. But the role-playing trend on streaming platforms like Twitch has proven otherwise.
A variant from the standard GTA Online game, GTA RP has conquered some of the biggest names in the streaming sphere. This multiplayer mod deviates from the base game to let gamers create unique stories. Spawning their character randomly, players can directly affect how the surrounding NPCs behave through their actions.
And this story-driven method of gameplay has rekindled the love for this classic RPG, making it more immersive for viewers and streamers alike. Beyond mere streaming services, live streaming can also help offset players’ own physical limitations.
Using a video interface, the best live casinos emulate the feel of a brick-and-mortar gambling venue, only for players to try their luck at home. Ranging from blackjack to poker and craps, live games allow players to interact with a bona fide dealer on the other side of their screen. Many live dealer games even give users a chance to chat with fellow casino enthusiasts. Such social elements and realistic gameplay add to an authentic and immersive online experience.
Immersive gaming is going as strong as ever. From full-body experiences to cutting-edge VR devices, sensory stimulation is now at the core of many video games. Artificial intelligence and live streaming technology also help gamers feel fully submerged in a virtual environment.