Online Gaming is Evolving

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The gaming world is evolving every day. If we scroll back just a few years, the likes of Ridge Racer and Tekken that once looked amazing, now feel decidedly ancient. Although nostalgia and core gaming values keep the classics alive, there's no doubt that the latest quirks are what players really love.

Whenever an innovation hits the market, people often flock to it en masse and in recent years the movement has been towards a more realistic gaming experience. Virtual reality is now starting to give gamers a glimpse into the future thanks to products like Oculus Rift, Samsung and Sony’s PlayStation VR. But that doesn’t mean that the bread and butter isn’t still important. Webcam technology in gaming is still important for instance. On a basic level, novelty games like YouFight! and Ball Strike can be found on MIT's Scratch website. Although most of the games are more of a software programming project than a full-scale game. But the fact you can fight with a Mortal Kombat character and kick balls by linking your desktop and webcam is extremely entertaining.

A New Way to Size Up Your Opponents

Taking this idea a step further and adding a certain amount of polish is the iGaming industry. Software developers like NetEnt and Microgaming have invested their time in live-dealer technology. Combining webcams, RFID chips and casino software, these companies have managed to usher in a new wave of online gaming. Today, bettors can play everything from roulette to blackjack to webcam poker face to face against their opponents from the comfort of their own homes. Instead of linking players and dealers through a series of webcams, they allow competing players to join a special "webcam" table – where players can see everyone else's face. Anyone who's ever played poker IRL will know that there's a lot of information to be gleaned from an opponent's facial expression.

Maybe it's a subtle smile or an unwitting frown; whatever it is, skilled poker players can pick up on subtle expressions that can help uncover the strength of a player's hand. Naturally, since the advent of online poker in the late nineties, the ability to spot tells has been lost (as you can't see your opponent). However, thanks to webcam poker, players now have the best of both worlds. In addition to having the speed and efficiency of the virtual game, players can still see live images of those around them. And some companies have taken this a step further by incorporating 360 video with gaming to create an immersive poker experience. A video that uses multiple cameras overlapping their fields of vision is used to achieve this.

Greater Interaction Results in Greater Entertainment

So, why are these extra additions so important for gamers? In a word: interaction. Part of the reason experts are predicting that the virtual reality industry will be worth $120billion by 2020 is that players want a more engaging experience. Online gaming fits nicely into this niche because it connects real people across a virtual space. Beyond this, the introduction of a webcam essentially puts the players at the heart of the game and, therefore, an integral part of the action.

When this is the case, players are becoming more engaged, more invested in the virtual environment and, therefore, more entertained. Indeed, if we look back through the history of gaming, the one overriding theme we see is that developers have strived to make things more believable. As hardware has improved, graphics have become more realistic.

However, as impressive as modern software is, it still can't match reality. This is where webcam games and virtual reality are starting to come into the mix. From poker and roulette to fighting games and sporting contests, webcams now offer a new, more entertaining, window into the gaming world.

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