What Does Gaming Look Like in 2018?

As one of the fastest evolving industries on the planet, video games are always reinventing themselves with new ideas and technologies. While this gives considerable choice to players in terms of potential sources of entertainment, it can also mean that those not heavily invested in the gaming world can easily overlook the latest developments and be left bewildered. With this in mind, we thought it would be helpful to take a look at the current state of gaming, what gamers can expect from the multitude of avenues available, and what is just on the cusp of major mainstream viability.

Personal Computer Gaming

Pc gaming is considered the home of the most diverse gaming library and with good reason. Not only does it not suffer the problem with being generationally locked as many consoles do, the lower barriers to entry regarding both developing and publishing mean that the indie scene is always breaking new ground. In terms of sheer variety, this means that PC is still, just has it has always been, the best place to find the widest range possible.


Antec TriCool LED Drive Bay Fan” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by William Hook

The issues regarding PC gaming in 2018 are quite similar in this way as they have always been, primarily concerning cost and reliability. Unlike consoles which are fully detailed and locked in their hardware systems, computers are made up of an assortment of different parts. While this means that customizing a rig to fit your budget or space gives a lot of power to the user, it comes with the caveat that getting games working on PC can be a considerably more difficult task, and individual pieces can break much more easily.

How are the Consoles Looking?

In 2018 we have a total of 3 major gaming consoles doing battle on the front line – Microsoft with the Xbox One (the third Xbox), Nintendo with the dual console/handheld Switch, and Sony with the PlayStation 4. Each of these consoles manufactures have taken to branching out in this generation, and in ways which have never before been attempted.

Nintendo, as they tend to do, are being more experimental in their designs. Having been the biggest name in handheld gaming since its inception, their combination of console/handheld stands as an entirely new standard of what is possible with a major console entry. It may be considerably less power than its two contemporaries, but Nintendo’s focus on artistic style over sheer polygon and effect count have shown how resources aren’t quite as important as the other big businesses would have players think.

Sony and Microsoft have both pursued similar developments in terms of the evolution of their base consoles. While previous iterations of these devices still came with more streamlined versions following the base unit, such as the PS3 Slim, in this generation both have sought actual direct processing power upgrades. These come in the form of the Sony PS4 Pro, and the Xbox One X, both of which are capable of upgrading the experience of their games with higher resolutions, better frame-rates, or other slight to major differences.

What Other Major Forms of Gaming are Taking Hold?

Aside from the most major traditional forms of gaming, there are three others which have taken major steps in becoming a permanent part of modern digital entertainment. These include the world of online casino games, virtual and augmented reality, and cloud gaming.

Online casinos might seem a little bit of an odd entry, but their success so far has actually been a major driving force in the mobile gaming market. While traditional major gaming publishers like EA or Activision were hesitant to get on board with smartphones, online casino developers like Joe Fortune had no such fears, bringing games like blackjack and roulette to the masses with versions mirrored on their traditional website and modern handheld systems.

AR and VR have been in the planning stages for a long time, but it is only recently where our technological reach has finally equaled our grasp. These modern games have now standard integration with PCs, consoles, and mobile devices, and are well worth experiencing for the world in which they allow us to experience.

Woman using a virtual reality headset by marcoverch, on Flickr
Woman using a virtual reality headset” (CC BY 2.0) by marcoverch

Cloud gaming, by the opinions of many tech commentators, is likely going to be a big part of gaming’s future. Simply put, this form of gaming would allow a user to play any game on any system, with the actual hardware work being performed off-site and then streamed into a person’s devices. This would operate in a similar manner to Netflix, though the higher demand for low latency and quick action mean that we’ll need faster internet and better overall network infrastructure before this becomes a common reality.

From Leaps Come Bounds

The next few years in gaming promise to be some of the most exciting and rapidly developing in gaming’s history. PC’s are finally capable of long-promised feats such as real-time ray-tracing in major games, consoles are branching out and pushing the envelope of what we formerly thought possible, and that’s just a start. We are now in an age where imagination truly is the key to the next generation of games and gaming systems, and we can’t wait to see what comes next.

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