It’s hard to imagine a time when electronic gaming did not exist but, realistically, it wasn’t all that long ago. The first electronic game, Pong, was introduced nearly sixty years ago, making it younger than the average life expectancy of a U.S. citizen. Far from the days of its infancy, gaming has nearly caught up with reality, literally. There have been obvious advances in gaming displays: more megapixels, better graphics. Beyond that though have been great advances in the way players interact with the gaming world. Back in the days of Pong, two-dimensional graphics allowed gamers limited movement with one of two actions: up or down. Oh, how far we have come.
How Gaming Has Changed
Gaming, whether PC or console, no longer means pushing a few buttons in a rhythmic sequence. Advancements in virtual reality and augmented reality require games to physically move their bodies to control their avatar. In the world of computer gaming, interacting with a mouse can now be a visceral experience as well. Gaming technology peels away reality to leave gamers deeply embedded into their pixel-lit world.
Controlling games through physical movements is not new to the world of gaming, but it has made advancements in the last few years. First released in time for Christmas in 2010, the Kinect technology introduced by Xbox made waves in the gaming community. It was positively received by reviewers for creating a fun, control-free concept for casual gamers. Kinect introduced the idea of using the player’s body and their movements as the controller.
The New World Of Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality technology takes physical-interaction gaming to an even higher level. AR is a computer-generated environment gives a real-time view an augmented world. AR is not specific to gaming alone; it has also been applied in education, military training, and navigations and it made big headlines in 2014 when Google introduced Google Glass. While the glasses never took off from a marketing perspective, they were an important step forward for the technology. In 2016, an American software company named Niantic released Pokémon Go, which has been credited with introducing AR to mainstream gaming. Although, there is some debate that Pokémon Go is less AR and more location-based gaming. Regardless, Pokémon Go introduced the idea of changing the physical environment through gaming by challenging players to move to find Poke stops, Pokémon, and other gaming components. Similar to Kinect, AR builds upon the idea of using the physical body to control what is happening in the game.
PC Games Keep Getting Better
For computer gamers, there has been no lack of advancement on the computer mouse. Today, the best gaming mouse online is the Razer Elite. This is far from the mouse you would classically find on your desk at work: two buttons, one scrolling button, and perhaps a trackball if your company is working on a budget. The Razer Elite boasts one of the most advanced optical sensors of any gaming mouse. Today it is standard for an optical or laser sensor to be used to sense movement. With laser or optical sensors, mice have a small photo sensor that repeatedly takes images of the surface and correspond the movement onto the cursor on screen making response time faster and more accurate. In addition, there is less chance of a physical malfunction occurring due to a faulty part.
Most gaming mice have the capability to be customized to match the player’s style with everything from programmable buttons to a changeable chord length. Customizations allow for the player to optimize their gaming depending on the game type: MMORPG, first-person shooter, real-time strategy). Mice can also now communicate back to the gamer, allowing them to further delve into the game. Mice with now vibrate when the player gets hit. The technology behind gaming mice could advance even further with pivot, tilt and roll technology introduced by The Z. The Z is a passion project and Kickstarter initiative driven by Swiftpoint. Anticipated to be released in December 2016, The Z would be one of the most intuitive mice on the market. It will differentiate by how hard the user clicks, giving the gamer force and speed control. With tilt technology the mouse senses if its side is being lifted off the desk surface. This can make actions like learning or crouching easier. Pivot action technology allows the gamer to turn the mouse in a clockwise or counterclockwise motion to make panning the screen easier. Better views give a better competitive edge. With these new technologies, the Z has the power to take mouse-gamer interactions to the next level, further advancing how users interact with their games.