Rapid evolution has always been at the core of the online gaming industry, and the perennial pushing of the technological envelope carried out in order to attract new players often has a knock-on effect in other areas.
Here is a look at the most recent innovations and breakthroughs which are shaping online gaming today and will continue to have an impact going forward.
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The cloud is making games more accessible
Cloud computing is not a new technology in its own right, but gaming is proving how it can be effectively deployed to free users from the limitations of local hardware and instead enjoy cutting edge experiences that were previously only accessible to enthusiasts.
The rise of cloud-powered gaming services like Google Stadia, in conjunction with console-focused equivalents, make real time game streaming a possibility. So rather than relying on titles to be installed locally and thus have their performance tied to the amount of CPU and GPU power available on the device in question, a remote server can do all the heavy lifting.
Cloud tech is not only used for flagship gaming experiences covering everything from shooters to platformers and even beat-‘em-ups, but also things like casino games from sites such as Casumo.
All of this means that whether you are playing on high end PC hardware, a modern smartphone or even just a smart TV with internet access, you can expect to be able to access online gaming identically to the millions of other users worldwide.
Higher refresh rates are taking precedence over resolution boosts
For decades, gamers were both limited to and satisfied by displays which refreshed at either 50 or 60Hz, depending on their region. But in the last couple of years, a push to go beyond targeting merely 30 or 60 frames per second with modern online competitive titles has been made, resulting in shifts not only in game design but also in hardware expectations.
The emergence of high refresh rate monitors pushing from 120Hz to 240Hz or even 360Hz has not just been about a meaningless arms race towards ever-greater pixel-pushing performance; it has been proven to actively improve the capabilities of pro gamers and amateurs alike.
Faster refresh rates mean smoother onscreen motion, which is obviously beneficial in titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Even narrative-driven, single player games or even the aforementioned online casinos sites look better when refresh rates of over 60Hz are deployed. This is probably why a growing number of mobile phones now also support 120Hz screens and above; expectations are growing in line with the availability of the hardware.
The next generation of home consoles are taking note of this trend, with the Xbox Series X from Microsoft explicitly targeting 120Hz gaming in some online titles, like Dirt 5. While 4K and even 8K screens may be entering the mainstream for home entertainment, it still seems like frame rate and faster display refresh limits are more appealing to consumers.
Cyber security is being taken seriously
Cyber attacks are a concern for all industries and sectors, and this is clearly a particular priority for online gaming platform providers and developers.
With an increase in DDoS attacks and other threats becoming more prevalent, this industry is at the frontlines of the fight against hackers.
Just as the companies behind the gaming industry are needing to invest significantly in making their protection against cyber attacks more robust, so too are the players themselves being afflicted by phishing scams and other underhanded tactics. This is breeding a savvier generation of web users who are better equipped to take on all of the risks involved in modern online life.
The online gaming industry looks set to continue innovating, building upon the strong foundations that have been established as businesses and customers alike contribute to the progress being made.