Gaming technology has come on leaps and bounds over the last few decades. Technological advancement is at an all-time high in the industry and, to the excitement of gamers around the world, these new technologies are being incorporated into a wide range of different games and consoles.

It wasn’t too long ago that online multiplayer capabilities were being lauded as a giant stride for the gaming community. Today, things have progressed even further - here a few trends which have either helped change, or are in the process of changing the gaming industry landscape.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and The Third Dimension (3D)

As gamers have got used to the high-octane environment offered by online multiplayer experiences, traditional gaming modes, where you compete against the computer, could have gone down the pan. Thankfully, AI has really upped its game in the face of such stiff competition.

AI is gaining intelligence at an alarming rate and is now fully capable of mimicking human behaviour and replicating natural instinctive actions during in-game situations. In 2015, the Independent reported that a computer intelligence program had been designed that was capable of learning how to play classic games and posting human-like scores. To know a computer is capable of learning, adapting and reacting is quite an unnerving thought, but if artificial intelligence does eventually take over the human race, at least we will have some incredible video games as a result of their world domination.

Two dimensional gaming was good, while it lasted, but it had its limitations – both in terms of graphic capability and gameplay. 3D graphics aren’t a new advancement, but the introduction of 3D really was a game changer. As the years roll on, graphic capabilities are only going to increase, meaning the aesthetic potential of what gaming can achieve is almost limitless.

Gesture Control

Gesture control allows gamers to associate hand gestures with actions, eliminating the controller altogether, making it a perfect pairing for VR gaming. It’s no surprise then that there are already a number of gesture controllers on the market for VR that make use of hand tracking in order to connect us further with the virtual world. The technology has been particularly successful with mobile gaming, where apps have been created to enhance user experience by adding an element of realism. Partypoker launched their full native windows phone app earlier this year with gesture controls that allowed users to flick cards into the muck and drag bets onto the table. The popular detective game The Trace also integrates gesture controls to help players solve puzzles and Prince of Persia Shadow & Flame allows users to leap across buildings with the swipe of a hand. As apps try to diversify themselves from competitors, it’s becoming more commonplace for companies to experiment with new technology.

Online Streaming

Although online streaming isn’t directly involved in the creation of the games themselves, it has become a massive part of the whole gaming industry. Users of websites like YouTube and Twitch gain massive exposure – both for themselves and the games they are playing and reviewing. It’s also got to the stage where these streamers have become online celebrities, earning a very lucrative living from streaming their gaming skills online and giving their opinions.

Virtual Reality (VR)

VR technology has finally made its mark on the gaming industry this year, with platforms like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR launching over the last 12 months and taking the sector by storm. Gamers strap on a headset and become part of the game itself. Developers fuse gesture control and 3D graphics, meaning gamers can interact fully within the game and act out real-life scenarios.

These systems are quite pricy and obviously, that makes them unattainable for those who lack the monetary advantages of others. The other drawback is they are quite a solitary activity, with gamers slotting on their VR headset and escaping into their own little gaming world. However, VR developers are looking at ways to introduce more interactive games and features to VR gaming, which would take enjoyment levels to whole new gaming plateau and, like most new technologies, VR consoles will become more available and affordable as time passes.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Pokémon Go was an international phenomenon when launched last year and it’s one of the first games to incorporate AR into its gameplay. Augmented are a website who specialise in AR technology and they published this article in September, outlining the advantages AR technology can bring.

“(AR) is an innovative technology that changes that adds virtual elements to the physical environment around you via a smartphone device or head mounted display. Because of this technology, game developers can use real backdrops and fill them in with game characters that can interact with players. What’s best about augmented reality is that this capability allows for games to be played anywhere and the experience will always be different.”

“With the momentum of Augmented Reality, and full-speed developments of VR, experts see 2017 as the year of Augmented and Virtual Reality titles.”