KOCHI: Smartphones in 2017 told us that bezel-less screen displays are in. Portrait mode is now the coolest thing you can have on your phone camera. Augmented Reality suddenly became a smartphone necessity. The year in tech made me question a lot of things. Was this unexpected renaissance triggered by the surge in selfies? Would Snapchat’s patented filters be the new big force that drives tech? The conspiracy theories that forecast machines taking over the world don’t worry me as much —the bots will do all the work, which means humans get more chill time with videogames. Which also means — new gaming tech!
Collaborative Virtual Realities: VR as well as Augmented Reality games are to allow for cooperative gaming environments. Because Pokemon Go got so popular, and Harry Potter is to release another one — there’s no doubt that AR will be big in 2018. Closely connected is the growing audience that watches competitive gaming — platforms like Twitch could now be a new outlet for internet trolls, and hopefully replace brash Youtube comments.
New console cycles: Hard-core gamers will continue the fruitless debate on the console front, as Xbox One X has released to compete with the modest PS4 ‘pro’ upgrade. Xbox wins with regards to specs as it renders games in 4K (but let’s hold off judgement till the PS5 releases), and PS continues to dominate in the number of game titles it has to offer.
Platform for the Indie experience: Gamers are suddenly asking for more than just mindless shooting. ‘We also want the feels, yo!’, proclaim millennials on Steam reviews. There is now appreciation for innovative material from small developers. I think this is because most gamers and developers have no money or time, and are forced to settle for crappy graphics.
Despite restrictions, the indie game market is growing fast (games sold on Steam and itch.io) and have created imaginative greats — the unwinnable ‘Cuphead’, the quirky and subtly emotional story in ‘Night in the Woods’, and even annoying sandboxes like ‘Goat simulator’ are quite enjoyable. The world of videogames is growing up, but I won’t be completely satisfied with gaming innovations till smell simulators are invented.
(This economics graduate spends her leisure time preparing for the zombie apocalypse)