We all know that the gaming industry has been a leading light in the way technology has been implemented when it comes to creating new and innovative platforms. However, some recent trends point towards the possibility that things are changing in terms of how games are going to deliver and engaged with in the future.
The circumstances that could see the current status quo overturned is a coming together of several different factors, but chief among them is the way that new advances in browser technology means they are now encroaching on territory previously the domain of traditional gaming platforms.
The way gaming has been experienced through consoles has led to several specific eras based around
iconic models. Since Atari launched the literally game-changing 2600 console in 1977 the idea of a task-specific piece of tech has been embedded in the whole ethos of the subculture surrounding the industry.
However, even though names like PlayStation and Xbox carry with them a lineage of ever-increasingly capable tech, modern console, and the games that go with them are expensive and the competition between them is sometimes hard to navigate. Even so it seems difficult to believe that an entire way of life for gamers might be coming to an end as a new generation of gaming platforms are forcing their way through.
Hard and Soft
One of the combinations forcing change is the way that both hardware and software are evolving in the gaming industry. Amazon’s new Fire TV is a hardware solution designed with both games and streaming media in mind, whereas the games streaming service OnLive is a purely software based concept. Steam’s new hardware platform SteamOS is another big development and an example of how high-end hardware and software delivery systems are moving into new playing fields.
As a forward-looking industry, it is inevitable that everyone involved in gaming is constantly on the lookout for new ways of doing things bigger and better, and so the fact that the way computer games are made, sold and consumed is changing rapidly should really come as no surprise.
No More Consoles?
So could the future of gaming actually mean an end to consoles? Serious players have long derided browser gaming, although industry figures have seen the revenue figures items like Bejeweled and Farmville can generate. In spite of this, the way that browsers work today is far different from in the past, and this means that they are capable of delivering a much more sophisticated gaming experience than before.
Gaming’s real future could lie in the simple fact that a native browser is a perfect example of a multiplatform piece of software. Mozilla’s Firefox (along with other browsers such as Google Chrome) can be found running on PCs, Apple computers, Android devices and Ubuntu operating systems across the whole device range of desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Another major factor is the way that industry leaders take a holistic overview of the gaming industry and look at how its development fits into the larger future of tech. One such figure is Bobby Kotick, the president and CEO of Activision Blizzard, the company behind World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Skylanders, StarCraft and Guitar Hero. Each of these projects has been revolutionary in their own right, and the success of World of Warcraft, in particular, shows how multiplayer online gaming can push boundaries and win millions of fans.
Known for his business strategy focused on developing projects that have a long lifespan, Kotick’s self-confessed “narrow and deep” approach to gaming franchises lends itself to the idea of being unbound from specific consoles and moving forward to a browser-delivered gaming environment.
Everything Goes Online
In essence, the way that the evolution of browser tech is impacting the gaming industry is really just another example of the way we live our lives online. When everything from ordering a pizza to managing our finances is done over the internet, should it be a shock to find that gaming is joining most other forms of entertainment and being accessed in this way too?
Of course, dedicated hardware in the form of hi-end desktops and laptops will be certain to be the way serious gamers actually engage with their favorite titles, but for many casual gamers, the increasingly powerful chipsets of smartphones and tablets will mean that browser gaming will be the first port of call for many others.