Fully Immersive Gaming: A Not So Distant Future?

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“EVA training in the virtual reality lab” (CC BY 2.0) by AstroSamantha

Twenty years ago, if someone had said that players would one day be able to physically enter games, this statement would have been met with some derision. But technology has moved on at such a fast pace since then, and with it, gaming has begun to achieve spectacular things that may have seemed impossible before. So just how far away is fully immersive gaming?

Modern games make use of the exceptional technology available, and create whole new worlds for the player to get lost in. Games like Fallout 4, The Witcher 3 and the soon to be released No Man’s Sky, have taken open-world gaming to new levels. Players can almost create new lives for themselves within the game, there is so much to do. Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) such as World of Warcraft, have also begun to offer players an escape from reality, and allow them to explore huge universes, embark on quests and socialise with other players all within this framework. When virtual reality becomes mainstream, it will surely be used to enhance these games further, and almost create a fully immersive experience.

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A huge proportion of online gamers like to play on online casino sites. These sites have also explored ways in which they can make their games more immersive. Online casinos have attempted to outdo their land-based counterparts by trying to remove the need for players to visit them. Why go to the casino when the same experience is available from the comfort of your own home? They haven’t managed to achieve this fully as yet, but steps have been made towards this future. Already players can access links to a live casino that enables them to play real life games of roulette or blackjack at home. MMORPGs based in casinos have also started to come about, and with VR around the corner, the possibility of combining these two elements seems as though it could be on the horizon.

Virtual reality could well be the first step towards allowing players to actually enter the game. It will allow them to explore places visually, and feel immersed, but they will also be restricted in the amount of things they can do. It is hard to imagine sporting games working well with VR unless there is also some kind of element that allowed players to physically play the games. It could be that the next step will be for players to actually put on a virtual reality suit and go into the games physically.

There are already some designs on the market that aim to provide this experience. The Teslasuit will allow the wearer to experience touch by tricking the senses using neuromuscular electrical stimulation, which is mild, localised, electric shocks. As it stands, though, this is just an idea, and the company behind it are looking to raise funds of £250,000 on kick-starter to begin work on the product.

If ideas like this come to fruition, as they surely will soon, this would definitely spell the beginning of a fully immersive gaming experience.

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