The Future of Entertainment: How Technology is Changing the Way We Play
By TOI Desk Report September 5, 2023 Update on : September 5, 2023
Entertainment has come a long way since the days of drive-in movie theaters and pinball arcades. Today, technology is transforming entertainment into a highly personalized and immersive experience that allows people to interact with content in new ways. From video games to augmented reality, the future of entertainment promises exciting innovations that will reshape how we play.
Video Games Get Hyper-Realistic
One major way that technology is evolving entertainment is through advances in video game graphics and virtual reality. With processors and graphics cards becoming more powerful each year, video games continue to become more lifelike and detailed. Cutting-edge game engines like Unreal Engine 5 allow for near photorealistic graphics, complex physics systems, and highly detailed game worlds. This pushes video games closer than ever to cinema-quality visuals.
Beyond just better graphics, new technologies like ray tracing accurately simulate the way light behaves in the real world. This takes into account shadows, reflections, and other optical effects to make game visuals indistinguishable from reality. Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards bring ray tracing to consumers, meaning hyper-realistic graphics are within reach for many gamers.
As graphics improve, video games are also utilizing haptic technology for more immersive experiences. Haptics use touch feedback to simulate physical sensations, allowing players to feel everything from recoil when shooting a gun to the grind of a skateboard on a railing. Controllers like the PS5’s DualSense incorporate advanced haptic feedback for sensory experiences never before possible in games.
Augmented Reality Merges Real and Virtual
Rather than being fully immersed in a virtual world, augmented reality overlays digital elements onto the real world. AR has huge potential to add an informational and entertainment layer to everything around us. An example is the mobile game Pokémon GO, which uses AR to make Pokémon appear on sidewalks and parks. Players can then try catching Pokémon by throwing virtual Poké Balls.
Looking ahead, AR glasses will allow for persistent overlays without needing to hold up a phone. Apple and other tech giants are working on consumer AR wearables that could arrive in the next few years. These will project graphics directly into people’s fields of view, creating a cyberpunk-style future where data and entertainment visuals expand our reality.
Powerful applications for this technology include everything from arrows that overlay directions onto roads during driving to captions that identify real-world objects. Even multiplayer AR gaming will be possible, with players battling virtual enemies that appear inside parks and neighborhoods. The merger of real world and digital will open up new opportunities for storytelling, gameplay, and socializing. For instance, AR could allow people to gamble online with others at a virtual poker table that appears to exist in the real world. Casinos are already experimenting with augmented reality to create immersive, social gambling experiences. By integrating live casino environments into a shared augmented space, AR has the potential to take activities like poker nights to the next level.
Virtual Reality Gets More Comfortable, Affordable
While virtual reality has been around for decades, new developments are making VR accessible to more consumers. Previously bulky and expensive VR headsets are now lighter weight and cheaper than ever. The Oculus Quest 2 only costs $299 and doesn’t require being tethered to a computer or console to work. This makes virtual reality gaming in your living room easier than ever.
New technologies are also making VR more comfortable to use. Eye tracking lets VR headsets render images clearer where users are looking rather than rendering the entire field of view in high definition. This puts less strain on the system. Likewise, features like the Valve Index’s canted displays optimize the field of view to feel more natural. Expect future generations of VR devices to be even sleeker and lighter.
VR content is also becoming more diverse, with massive multiplayer worlds like Meta’s Horizon Worlds letting friends hang out virtually. Beyond gaming, VR meditation apps like Tripp help people relax, while VR creative tools like Tilt Brush allow anyone to paint 3D art. As VR platforms expand, more immersive social, creative, and entertainment experiences will become possible.
Streaming Creates On-Demand Entertainment
The rise of high-speed internet and streaming technology has untethered entertainment from disks and downloads. Everything from music to movies can now be streamed over the internet. 5G networks and broadband services will only expand access to cloud-based entertainment.
Streaming gaming services like Google Stadia, Nvidia GeForce Now, and Xbox Cloud Gaming allow players to access high fidelity games through the cloud. Since games run on remote servers, people can play AAA titles on smartphones, tablets, and low-end PCs. Console-quality experiences are now possible on the go.
Likewise, subscription services like Xbox Game Pass provide unlimited on-demand access to downloadable games for a monthly fee. This Netflix-style model makes it easy to try out a broad range of titles. Streaming technology will allow services like Game Pass to remove the need for downloads entirely, with games run remotely.
AI Generates Dynamic Media Content
Lastly, artificial intelligence will help dynamically generate content to create an unlimited range of personalized entertainment experiences. Through machine learning algorithms, AI can create entirely new media like music tracks, video game levels, and text stories on the fly.
Systems like Anthropic’s Claude can already generate written stories and articles tailored to specific topics. Programs like Aiva and Amper write original music that adapts on the fly based on user preferences. In video games, AI systems can procedurally generate unique environments every time rather than use pre-built levels.
Rather than consuming static, mass produced entertainment, AI-generated content allows for dynamically changing experiences unique to each user. Machine learning will enable infinite permutations of media like songs, text adventures, VR worlds, and more. The future of entertainment will combine smart algorithms with user input to create experiences that are different every time.Read more: The Future of Entertainment: How Technology is Changing the Way We Play