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The first computer game was developed in 1958 by physicist and scientist William Higinbotham in New York State. William invented the game, and fellow computer science enthusiast Bob Dvorak designed the device to play it on. The machine was a small analog computer supercharged in a 1958 style using radar tech to deliver a basic tennis game. Scroll forward four years to the neighboring state, Massachusetts, to meet Steve Russell, the inventor of Spacewar!
Russell designed his game using the first version of a programmed data processor (PDP), the earliest form of mini-computer that was comparatively interactive, using similar tech to a TV with a keyboard input function. A dedicated console for gaming came into being in 1972 with the invention of the Magnavox Odyssey. The Odyssey was the first commercial home video game console and this technology allowed the TV set to become an interactive gaming device for the masses or anyone who had one.
In 1978, Gary Thuerk sent the first spam email. Thuerk was in marketing for Digital Equipment Corporation, and the spam mail was promoting their Decsystem on Arpanet. DECsystem was a line of server computers from Digital Equipment Corporation. They came in sizes ranging from substantial pedestal cabinets to desktop enclosures resembling workstations. Today, no one has heard of Arpanet, but we all know Thuerk. The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (Arpanet) was one of the earliest networks to deploy the TCP/IP protocol suite as well as the first wide-area packet-switched network with distributed control. Both of these innovations served as the Internet's technical underpinning.In the background, in 1978, AI was busy collating data sets on existing games creating algorithms to generate gaming characters, levels, and mechanics.
Once developers realized the money-saving opportunities, AI became the go-to creative source, writing games and designing graphics. Jumping into the future of gaming and what we can expect, let's imagine gaming in the year 2062, so we can see how gaming will evolve. By 2062, one hundred years after Spacewar became the first commercial video game and ninety years after Ralph Baer invented the first console adapter, the gaming industry will be unrecognizable - nothing Higinbotham, Russell, and Baer could imagine. AI (artificial intelligence) will write games, design the graphics, write the code, and AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) will take the gamer into another world. But what will gaming look like in the future?
The AI Gaming Effect
Gaming aficionados widely accept that in 1978 the famous arcade game Space Invaders was the first to have an AI opponent. In fact, 1978 was the golden age of firsts, the first test tube baby was born, and Apple released its first operating system DOS 3.1. Bill Gates, Monte Davidoff, and Paul Allen (Microsoft) released a basic program on a massive Altair computer.
Today gamers know that AI has created their favorite games and actively seek these computer-generated titles. Rimworld, which is a sci-fi simulation game, is an example of advanced AI, and it’s the ability to tell an evolving story using procedurally-generated stories. However, AIs’ ability to write titles is not refined as yet - ‘Rimworld’ - really?
In one hundred years or less, you can build your own game as you play - prompt the AI, which will write you straight into My Little Pony meets Left 4 Dead in a series called My Little Zombie Friendship Apocalypse or MLZFA for short. Or the sequel Grand Theft Crossing: Animal City Rampage?
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Augmented Reality (AR) in Gaming
AR is the real-time integration of AI and VR into the physical environment of the gamer. Augmented reality takes the real world and overlays a video game over it using live techs such as GPS, cameras, and microphones. A prime example of AR gaming is the ever-popular Pokémon Go, designed by Nintendo and Niantic. You use your mobile camera in a real-world setting to find Pokémon characters - the draw with this game is the fact you play in your neighborhood, which makes it fascinating.
One hundred years from now, AR could be transmitted directly into your brain via AR contact lenses, allowing users to change their reality while being in the now - a good thing? Probably not, but for visual learners, augmented reality means they can see how to carry out tasks instead of reading about them.
Virtual Reality (VR) in Gaming
Virtual reality has long been heralded as the future of gaming, so much so that Mark Zuckerberg has bet his future fortune on it. Facebook has come a long way from being the updated version of Friends Reunited. According to Blomberg, the Metaverse revenue business plan will generate $800 billion by the end of 2024.
By 2025 VR products will expand the gaming market by an estimated 64%. The growth is driven by mobile gaming on smart devices, virtual reality headsets, and faster connectivity. In the Metaverse or any VR game you choose, you can live like a king in ancient Greece or fight a gladiator in Rome. Times have moved on since the invention of the first VR headset in the 1980s, although the weight of the headset hasn’t changed much.
For a mere $600-$900, you can buy the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive - the golden standard in headsets, while the Mall has an offering that’s a third of the cost. The price of tech comes down as it evolves and becomes mainstream. For instance, 3D printers started life costing more than the average person’s annual salary, and now if you’re a computer geek with crypto profits, you can buy one for a lot less or the price of an annual XBOX PC Game Pass.
AR does not exist alone and will ultimately evolve into a component of XR; in 100 years, no one will have heard of AR as a stand-alone technology. Extended reality will bring immersive sports and events into the home. You won’t need to go to the Superbowl; it will come to you. Sportsbooks already use this kind of technology to allow more people to gamble on their favorite sporting occasions, helping them feel immersed in the event and spending more money.
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Cloud Gaming Takes Over
2003 was a good year for cloud gaming. It was the baby of a tech start-up G-Cluster, and the entire point of cloud gaming was to make games accessible to gamers at a cost. Xbox and PlayStation have embraced cloud gaming with different game pass versions.
Xbox is leading the subscription wars right now, but with the future of gaming getting cloudy, there’s no way PlayStation will want to miss out. With the roll-out of 5G, gaming VR-style conquers slow download issues to offer less delay due to low bandwidth. With download problems tackled, it’s no wonder the cloud has it.
The future of gaming is a cloud-based XR format boosting ultra HD graphics in real-time, incorporating a full body tracking system designed to enable AI-prompted play to earn in a decentralized structure promoting the rise of digital identity, assets, and ownership, all secured through blockchain technology.
All this means you won’t need to leave your home, ever. Work, rest, and play can be enjoyed through your headset - You can enjoy an immersive movie, canceling the need for movie theaters or even TVs. Or there may be a backlash, and something completely unexpected might take XRs place, but one thing is for sure AI is creative, but humans continue to be the driver, for now, anyway.