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Leveling up

New technologies, including virtual reality, promise to take video games to a whole new level of play -- for gamers of all ages.

Video gaming has morphed and evolved over the last 20 years, from consoles to Gameboys to the Internet to mobile to social gaming. It has been interesting to see how the Internet, and now mobile, have influenced different types of gaming.

I think of Sierra Online and its influence on Internet gaming and social media. And how arcades brought people together in the physical world, and how the Internet took us into our homes.

And now there's the social aspect of today's gaming: I think of my grandkids and me playing Minecraft together on the same network, and how it has brought disparate generations together.

As we look at the future of gaming, I believe that there will be massive advances due to trends like crypto-currencies, the shifting Vegas gambling laws to include games of skill, and the promise of VR.

Virtual reality has been talked about and talked about for years, maybe even decades. The promise of unique worlds and augmented reality has hatched our fantasies and been the subject of many books and movies. But the reality of VR has never lived up to its hype, especially as a gaming platform. That's partly due to the many drawbacks of the tech such as the lag time in visuals, which can cause nausea and the isolationism of the headsets.


But, today, a lot of the problems with VR are being solved through new technologies and new approaches even beyond the hype of Oculus Rift. The next two to five years should prove to be very interesting for the VR world.

The next trend, the potential of Crypto currently to become part of gaming's backbone, may prove to be the spark that allows game developers to monetize their games more effectively. Imagine enabling monetary transaction taking place inside games, securely, quickly and effectively. This opens new potential revenue streams, which may be the missing key to monetary success.

The continual stream of innovation from indie developers that are creating clever and interesting games is truly inspiring. By using the UNITY platform, many indie game developers are able to develop games with limited budgets. There is a direct correlation between lowering the cost of development and the increase in innovation.

Lastly, Las Vegas now allows games of skill, not just games of chance, to be a form of gambling. That innovation creates a blending of the video gaming and the gambling market for the first time. Fasten your seat belts. This will be one crazy, wild ride.

Photo courtesy of Nolan Bushnell