The very first game console is about forty-five years old. Since then, the industry has seen a lot of development. Over the years, countless new consoles have appeared and computers have become increasingly powerful. Today, technological innovations release faster and faster. Players can enjoy playing slot machines, poker, blackjack, and live games using any internet-connected device easily, on justuk.club! However, what does this mean for esports and competitive gaming? Is it necessary for esports and competitive gaming to keep up with the latest innovations in gaming?
Innovations in Competitive Gaming
For the average gamer and the hardcore gamer, graphics play a big part in today’s gaming landscape. From lush environments, and dense landscapes, player today experience a variety of environments from the comfort of their couch. However, for competitive gaming, some may argue graphics are less important, making it all about balance and performance. Take big-name esports titles, for example, League of Legends, Fortnite, and Counter-Strike: Global Offense. These games enjoy a deep reputation in the esports arena, but none of them are arguably the most graphically impressive game in their genre. Most of them lean towards a more stylized presentation. While this certainly lets artists take liberties, it also frees design from having to pump out the most graphics intensive game. With graphics being lesser on the priority list, this allows competitive gamers to focus their hardware and resources on performance.
Hardware, hardware, hardware
This is not to say visuals remain unimportant. Quite the opposite in fact. Several visual elements of games give players the best advantage possible so long as their hardware can manage it. This includes things likes FOV (field of view), allowing gamers to see closer to how they would in real life, minimizing blind spots, and adding some semblance of peripheral vision. Additionally, this includes LOD or “Level of Detail”. LOD in games primarily refers to how details objects are at distance. For most RPGs or single-player experiences, objects fade or render with less 3D detail the further they are away. For competitive FPS games, you can see why this may get a player killed.
To alleviate these sorts of problems, most serious esports gamers and competitive gamers pack the latest hardware. The issue is, as games continue to evolve, and they will, the barrier to entry rises. These keep popular veteran players engaged but easily make it increasingly difficult for new players to progress and join the ranks. Unlike casual gaming or single-player experiences, it’s not as simple as lowering the settings, especially when these settings can make or break how well a player performs when the stakes are the highest.
So where is the balance?
One would be hard-pressed to argue competitive games or esports-centric titles should not innovate. After all, stagnation is never a good thing. So what keeps games innovating in the competitive arena without making it impossible for new gamers to join the fray? To be frank, it’s hard to say. Gaming is expensive, period. One could argue it’s easier to always have the latest iPhone than it is to be on the latest generation of gaming hardware. It may come down to, unfortunately, the barrier of entry remaining high into the future. With the exception of scalping, consoles gamers will typically have it easier. For PC less so.
However, I’d be remiss if I did not give one suggestion. Early in the article, we discussed stylized games. If games are developed for the express purpose of esports and competitive gaming, these should rely on stylization rather than photorealism. Now, this does not mean games need to be outright cartoony. Take Apex Legends for example. While the artwork is definitely stylized, the game employs a very good version of it, keeping characters proportionate to real biological standards while still creating identifiable silhouettes for each character. Apex Legends can certainly get competitive, but players are not heavily dinged or penalized performance-wise for snuffing some of the more graphically intensive options and settings. The game favors detailed character models while spending less so on landscape and environments, reducing the initial barrier to entry than, let’s say, a game like Battlefield 2042.
There are more examples, but I imagine you all get the gist. Games used for esports and competitive gaming will certainly not stop evolving for the time being, but we may be surprised at what direction they begin to take when compared to their single-player experience siblings.
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