Although it is already an industry that is booming, the games sector is set to truly explode during the next year thanks to the long-anticipated launch of virtual reality (VR) gaming throughout the world. Of course, although there is no disputing that the arrival of VR gaming represents a huge leap forward for the industry, in many ways it is simply the latest one in a relentless march towards interactive gaming becoming a mainstream activity. This piece will look at how we have reached this point and recap the rise of interactive games devices.

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The very first multiplayer games

It could be argued that this journey really began with the arrival of games able to be played by multiple players, rather than solo, as this was the first time that gaming really became a genuinely interactive activity. Initially, with console games that interaction was largely limited to the gamer’s circle of friends or acquaintances, who chose to participate in multiplayer gaming sessions with him or her. However, it is here that interactive gaming truly began as games became a social and/or competitive thing.

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Online multiplayer gaming

The development of interactive gaming took a huge leap forward with the arrival of broadband as, suddenly, such games could be played with people in different locations, rather than simply with someone else in the same room. With the launch of the Xbox Live in 2002, console games were also available to be played online, with Sony and Nintendo grabbing a slice of this action with the PlayStation Network and the Wii respectively. The emergence of online multiplayer gaming led to the creation of the ‘massive multiplayer online game’ that can be played by large numbers of people together – with many of these games being role-playing ones. This made gaming even more interactive, while the arrival of live casino fronted by operators such as 888casino enabled people to play casino games against real opponents – and with real dealers – in live online settings

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Augmented reality games

Augmented Reality (AR) could be considered to be something of a halfway point between the real world and VR, presenting games where the player interacts with a real-world physical environment – rather than the total simulation of VR – but one that is augmented by graphics, video, audio or other computer generated elements. It has been germinating for some time, with one of the first ventures into this field being the EyeToy for PlayStation 2, from Sony. This company continued to lead the field in developing AR gaming, with games such as Eye of Judgement for PlayStation 2, that deployed the PlayStation Eye – an improved device with better image processing. AR is expected to continue to compete with VR in the gaming world, in the coming years.

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VR gaming

Which brings us to the present point, with virtual reality gaming. Devices like the Morpheus, Oculus, Magic Leap and Hololens mean that all of the major companies are on board. With its ultra-real world simulations that players interact with on an immersive level, this is a massive move forward even from AR – but an exciting one for gamers.

While interactive gaming has been part of our lives for years now, the nature of that interaction is being changed radically by the arrival of VR gaming.