The gaming industry, currently worth over £100 billion, has constantly been using cutting-edge technology to provide the best experience. At the same time, artificial intelligence has begun to displace human experts. With the release of new forms of gaming and even better software, it is clear that the gaming industry is travelling towards a near-perfect game simulation.
Fully Immersive Gaming
In terms of actual games, digitised cognition would help create previously impossible games and gaming experiences. Given that perception of the world would already be simulated, it seems likely that a game could also be entirely simulated. Indeed, with things such as VR hardware like the Oculus Rift, it seems that a simulated game platform like that Ready Player One’s ‘Oasis‘ would be an end goal for developers.
Hardware such as surround visions cameras, heat sensors, radar, sonar and a host of other sensors could also be part of a game. Such games could be played in a VR mode where said hardware could be coupled with downloadable software to provide a highly realistic gaming experience quality. This could revolutionise the gaming industry and represent a potential maximum in gaming experience, at least as far as the type of technology used.
Obviously, things such as computing power, display quality and storage capacity would likely be iterated upon for a very long time, and of course, factors such as storyline, cinematography, setting development and other creative areas of game development are not guaranteed to be of any quality, but all of these aspects of the game would be improved by the better realism of the game.
This ‘simulated reality’ would very likely be indistinguishable from real life, save from the setting, and could allow for any gaming experience to seem real. From the viewpoint of technology, I struggle to see a concept that would be better than a fully simulated game reality. Even concepts such as those in Ready Player One would be inferior to this technology as this is the only way to simulate all aspects of the game.
The role of Artificial Intelligence
AI is beginning to dominate its human counterparts in some games. Already we have seen artificial intelligence best players of complex games such as Dota 2, Chess and Go. The same software that made the bots in these games could be integrated into the game playing process, assuming game developers and administrators allowed it. This could be as an opponent or even the player themselves in an ‘AI mode’. Potentially, human brain/ artificial intelligence hybridisation could be developed to allow the player to have the most fun they can, whilst also having a default high competency. This would allow players to play a game very skilfully whilst also retaining the enjoyable nature of learning and ultimately messing around.
The response of the Industry
The gaming industry giants have up to date been reasonably good at creating new technologies and entering new technological markets. In the case of Ready Player One, the inventor of the technology gets a seemingly immediate monopoly on the gaming industry. This could be copied by a new or existing company, or the inventor of digital immortality itself could decide to capitalise on this possibility.
For those who can pivot to simulated reality gaming, this would immeasurably improve their games. For games like first-person shooters, the weather conditions, weight, fatigue and a whole bunch of other factors usually only experienced in everyday life could become integrated into the game. Furthermore, these could all be configurable in settings menus. This would enable developers to set their games anywhere they could, such as true zero-gravity space games, disaster scenarios and even simulator games with buggy physics could work.
For those who cannot pivot fast enough, their products would likely decline to nostalgia and fall from the mainstream market, though there would be no reason why an emulator couldn’t be augmented into reality without the need for a hard physical copy. Another possibility is for old games to be replicated in a better form, for example sandbox games like Minecraft being turned into a simulated reality, as is briefly seen in Ready Player One, which is perhaps the closest thing to how a fully simulated reality would be.