Current Trends in the Games Industry

Virtual Reality & Constantly Online

Virtual reality is a three-dimension, computer-generated world that is created to be able to be interacted with and be able to immerse players into game as much as possible so it feels like the player is there and inside of the game. Virtual reality can be played across many platforms including PC and console. The most popular virtual reality devices include the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony Project Morpheus and for a more mobile experience, the Samsung Gear VR which is applicable on certain Samsung devices. Games that have already been made for virtual reality include Team Fortress 2, Grand Theft Auto V and Temple Run VR. Virtual reality was founded in 1957 and during this time period, virtual reality has increasingly improved starting from being able to use senses within the virtual reality world in 1957, however from 2014, a company called Virtuix have raised Β£53 million in order to create a virtual reality treadmill which gives the player the ability to use their own body movements in order to create character movements. There are many variations in the different available virtual reality devices, for example, the Oculus Rift includes a decent head strap and headphones however the screen isn’t very good compared to the Samsung Gear VR which can show high quality pictures despite being mobile sized and the lack of headphones. 

The financial implications for virtual reality is the headset is very expensive compared to what it was supposed to cost when the idea was generated and thrown out to the public. As well as the cost of the headset which is over Β£300, there is also the costs of any other materials such as the machine. As well as how much it would be for the user, it also will be expensive for the company to hire and keep specialists to help develop games for the virtual reality systems as well as any specialist equipment and the more powerful the machine the more money it requires; there is also whether or not the games will continue to be the same price or become more expensive after development.

For the company, virtual reality holds many advantages including the ability to be able to use virtual reality as a way of interviewing people without actually being there in person, can also help training of staff as it can put them under conditions that could not be recreated in the workplace such as emergencies, virtual reality can also minimalize business travel and can offer virtual offices for employees. There is also the advantages of running a company virtually which means it will mean no leasing offices or buying furniture, employees will be happier and be able to work from home meaning less rent for offices and be able to get more staff without needing to upgrade the office space.

For as many advantages, there are also disadvantages. Companies that run off of virtual reality may be less organised and not within a time frame as staff may choose their own work hours leaving when projects are going to be completed harder to decide when all is going to be done. The lack of social reaction between members of staff and HR will also impact the teamwork and may make it harder for them to work together as the majority would have worked independently so when the time to collaborate comes, it may make it harder. The risk of not being known as a real company due to the majority of things being virtual may ruin reputation as well as the security issues with all data and information being stored on the devices as accidental loss could break a company and leave it at risk of failure.  

Advantages to users are just as important as they are to companies. Advantages to users can be that it can help the ability of learning new skills or taking courses and can be cheaper than going out to places to get the qualification when you can do it from your home which can also be time efficient. Virtual reality can also be more enjoyable in terms of training as they can create scenarios which may not be able to recreate in the real world but can be created in the virtual world and can also for entertainment purposes, bring games to life and help the user feel more immersed in the game or even the training as they are helping the user to feel like they are actually there. 

Disadvantages could be that the virtual reality equipment may be expensive. Virtual reality can also put a person into a virtual life and therefore make the user neglect real life and can cause problems with dealing with real life when the virtual one is taken away and may also cause depression. Training can also be a problem because although it is similar to real life events it is not actual reality and users may do better in virtual training than real environments.

Constantly online games are games which are only playable when there is a constant internet connection and cannot be played offline. Online games are available on multiple different platforms including PC, consoles and mobile devices and vary in genre, the most popular being multiplayer games, for example, World of Warcraft or League of Legends. Constantly online has been around for a few years and includes games such as SimCity, Silent Hunter 5 and Assassins Creed II and many require constant internet connection such as the recent complaints towards EA’s Need For Speed being only playable with a constant internet connection, because most of the time, the developers have not finished with the worlds in which the games are based on and still need to throw in updates from time to time to make the game the best it can be. There are variations in constantly online games as there are the different genres where this may be a single-player game, a multiplayer game, whether or not the game is free to play or you will have to pay for it. If the game is one arena where you battle online as well as the different platforms it being on PC/Mac or consoles. 

Financial implications for constantly online are the costs for keeping a game online and the constant updates the game will need including patch updates and software updates. For the user, you may need a better PC or laptop or Mac in order to run specific games for their specifications as they may need something more powerful as well as headsets and microphones and paying for constant online connectivity. Constantly online games will require specialists that are able to create games to be able to be played on PC/Mac and consoles and make the graphics compatible. 

Advantages for companies involving constantly online exist, for example, Microsoft is able to pinpoint how many games are sold and therefore tell whether or not a certain game deserves a sequel depending on how many people bought the game. This also helps games companies as it allows them to update servers and gameplay features instantly and this is capable of running in background so doesn’t halt users interaction.

Disadvantages for companies would be the need to keep games up-to-date and to ensure their security so game data is not lost. If a company were constantly online they would have to have 24 hour customer service for users to access which may not be possible at all times. 

Advantages for users would be that the game is constantly online and for multiplayer this means it is not a computer the player is up against, it’s a real player therefore the user can improve much faster when against a human than a robot. For a user, it would also be useful because it means al updates and DLC’s will be up to date without further download to their system as downloads can run in the background and start as soon as available. The need for discs is no longer needed as most games can be bought online and be able to instantly play rather than waiting for discs to load and prevents loss of physical copies.

Disadvantages for users using constantly online would be that if the internet connection is lost at any point the game will stop and risk of losing data until previous auto or manual save; or if the internet connection begins to stutter or become weak, the game may lag and not be worth playing as for multiplayer, it may be working fine for them and then for you, random enemies jump out with no indications or characters/enemies may not load properly. There is also a high risk of data being lost or corrupted over the internet which any data a user has saved will be lost and non-retrievable.