It’s no secret Extended Reality has taken the world by storm. Particularly in the last couple of years, we’ve seen the rapid adoption of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality experiences across various environments. The gaming landscape was one of the first arenas where developers and creators really began putting XR to the test.
From the world-changing augmented experiences offered by Pokémon Go, to the incredible worlds unlocked by the Oculus Quest, the innovations of XR in gaming are quickly becoming mainstream. These experiences, sought-after by countless gamers worldwide, have also helped to accelerate the adoption of XR in various other areas, including the business landscape.
Today, while XR tools have become far more than just an accessory for the standard games console or mobile phone, the potential of XR in gaming is still significant. Let’s take a look at some of the top use cases for XR in the gaming industry today.
1. B2B Experiences and Education
The widespread adoption of XR gaming experiences has opened the door to a new B2B avenue for games companies. Today, brands across the world are rapidly investing in more methods to engage and educate their employees with immersive experiences. XR represents a fantastic solution for this.
Gamification in the business landscape with the help of XR solutions can help to make hybrid and remote teams feel more connected to their colleagues. Escapee rooms, puzzle rooms, and other virtual “team building events” represent a new way for companies to align increasingly distributed staff members in a global landscape.
For gaming companies, the evolving B2B landscape offers an opportunity to engage and empower workforces with new types of all-inclusive fun. Aside from simply bring teams closer together, these tools can also pave the way for more memorable training experiences the whole team can enjoy.
2. The Rise of the Metaverse
The Metaverse represents perhaps the most exciting opportunity in the gaming landscape today. Described as a kind of “embodied internet”, this new digital landscape will enable the creation of an entirely new gaming community, and a range of opportunities for games developers. We’re already seeing the rise of multiple gaming trends connected to the Metaverse.
“Games-as-platforms” solutions where users can create their own content, build sub-games, and add to virtual worlds (like Roblox) are going increasingly common. Multi-player social gaming experiences in Fortnite and similar environments are opening the door to new explorations of what gaming in the metaverse might look like.
We’re also seeing a new interest in “play-to-earn” experiences. In this environment, players can engage in profitable activities, like selling the assets they win in games for cryptocurrencies, or trading in-game currencies for other virtual products. As hyper-realistic avatars become more common and people become more immersed in digital communities, we’ll see the focus on Metaverse applications for the gaming industry increase.
3. New Game Development Opportunities
XR solutions aren’t just a powerful way for gaming companies to reach new customers and explore new avenues within their go-to-market strategy. The right tools can also empower the creation of more amazing game experiences. Collaborative apps within a VR environment can bring team members together to work on game landscapes in real-time.
Movie actors and professionals working on a game storyline can rehearse and speak their lines in a virtual environment, allowing for a deeper level of immersion. Gaming professionals can even showcase their games to potential investors through virtual and mixed reality demonstrations.
As XR environments continue to evolve, there are countless apps, APIs, and SDKs produced by leading companies like Niantic and Apple which give gaming companies new ways to explore and create. These environments ensure developers have a powerful landscape in place where they can design gaming assets, and create experiences collaboratively.
4. Improved User Experience
One of the biggest challenges any game development or gaming organization might face in the development of a new asset, is making sure the user interface is as streamlined as possible. People in the gaming world want to be able to interact with assets and environments as conveniently as possible. Any problems with loading up a menu or a HUD detracts from the overall experience.
The XR gaming landscape opens the door to a new form of user experience, enabled by Natural User Interfaces. AI technology can work together with sensors and other feedback tools to allow users to interact with games in a more organic way. Already, we’re seeing the rise of everything from gesture control in the Oculus, to Speech Recognition.
The natural user interface available from XR environments allows gaming companies to embed their users deeper into the first-person experience they’re getting within a game. Things like gesture and body tracking even allow for the creation of more practical gaming opportunities. For instance, you can work out in XR without having to use controllers, or learn how to fly a plane while feeling as though you’re sitting in a cockpit.
5. Hybrid and Virtual Events
As mentioned above, XR has already begun to emerge as a powerful tool for the gaming industry when it comes to sharing experiences with shareholders and investors. However, it can also be a powerful way to show people behind the scenes of a new gaming experience from a distance.
In a world where in-person events are becoming less common, many gaming companies have begun building VR environments where people can see a 360-degree version of a game landscape up-close before purchasing the title. The same environment can allow users to use a headset to feel as though they’re visiting an expo if they can’t be there in person.
There’s even the potential for “hybrid” event experiences in the gaming landscape. Arcades and other XR-focused gaming companies are now appearing around the world to give people access to exclusive XR experiences. There are dedicated VR games spaces in locations like London where you can pay for a day racing your friends in VR, or fighting off the zombie apocalypse. This provides gaming companies with a new way to connect with their audience, and unlock new forms of revenue.