The games industry is one of the most forward-thinking within the technology sphere. As more innovative hardware and software are developed, game developers consistently use that technology to push the boundaries of what’s possible within interactive media.
For experienced developers and those new to the industry, the industry’s continually evolving nature presents the opportunity to specialise and perfect your skills in certain areas. Here, we explore five of the best-emerging technologies that today’s developers can focus on to stay ahead of the curve and expand their skill set.
Augmented reality is relatively new to the industry but the world’s awareness of the technology’s potential was catapulted by the success of Pokemon Go in 2016. Since then, a few games made using large IPs have leveraged augmented reality to commercial success but for the most part, the technology is still untapped.
There is still a lot to explore when it comes to augmented reality and the platforms that support it, particularly Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore, are constantly being updated to support this innovation. Augmented reality is going to stick around and is worth considering as a specialisation within games.
Virtual reality is also relatively new to gaming and has seen most of its success and growth attributed to major viral titles like Beat Saber, Superhot and Half-Life: Alyx. That said, relative to other platforms, the library of virtual reality games available is still fairly limited, meaning there is a huge opportunity to break into this space given the right game is made.
Similar to augmented reality, virtual reality hardware is constantly being updated and innovated, suggesting that many big hitters in games industry technology think VR will only grow in popularity. VR developers have the opportunity to tap into a still relatively fresh and burgeoning market, making it a great option for specialisation.
Artificial intelligence is far from new and as a society, even outside of games, we have been pursuing the development of ‘smart’ machinery for a long time. That said, in recent years we’ve seen artificial intelligence get significantly closer to emulating human behaviour successfully, with some worried that AI is getting too powerful and research needs to be regulated.
Games serve as one of the most interesting ways to explore the power of AI, both mechanically and through AI text and image generation tools which can rapidly increase development speed. Whatever your opinion on AI, it is likely to stay at the forefront of industry experimentation, making it a great choice for specialisation.
Voice recognition is not a new technology but it has gradually improved over time, with new opportunities emerging for its use within games. The best example of this is RichCast, a code-free game engine that allows users to create narrative gaming experiences where the player can physically talk to characters in the game to progress the story.
Projects like RichCast are a huge step towards more seamless gaming experiences, pointing towards a future where narrative-driven games can do away with dialogue boxes or dialogue options and allow the player to respond as they see fit. A truly immersive alternative to what we have now and a great reason to consider honing your knowledge of voice recognition technology.
Facial recognition has uses far beyond games and as a technology, it receives extensive funding from a host of different industries from governmental security to healthcare management.
The primary challenge with facial recognition in games is that our current technological capabilities have been focused on recognising different unique faces, rather than recognising expressions and the details of a single face. In gaming, the main opportunities for exploring facial recognition are in the game recognising the expressions of the player and responding accordingly, which is extremely difficult to achieve with today’s advancements. There is a lot of opportunity to push the boundaries of what’s possible in games with facial recognition so if that’s your goal, you should think about studying it further.
To conclude, games are one of the most innovative mediums. As an industry, we are constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with the technology at our fingertips. By specialising in emerging technology, there are a host of opportunities within games to innovate and deliver unique gaming experiences. It’s just a matter of picking which technology you want to focus on.