Gaming Applications and Technology

PDF version of this report
You must have Adobe Acrobat reader to view, save, or print PDF files. The reader
is available for free

Gaming Applications and Technology

by James G. Barr

Docid: 00021099

Publication Date: 1909

Report Type: TUTORIAL


Video gaming is enormously popular. According to Nielsen, about
two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) play video games on some kind of
console or device. Initially deployed for entertainment purposes,
video games are used by businesses for employee training and customer
engagement. While initial offerings were technologically
primitive, today’s video games incorporate virtual reality, biometrics,
and artificial intelligence (among other technologies) in a never-ending
effort to improve the gaming experience.

Report Contents:

Executive Summary

[return to top of this report]

The term "gaming" has multiple separate, but technologically-related,

  • Residents of Las Vegas or Atlantic City might
    first think of gaming as gambling, or the wagering of money on so-called
    "games of chance" like electronic slot machines.
  • Others might think of gaming as
    technology-based simulations for training or testing purposes, such as
    flight simulators where pilots sharpen their flying skills in response to
    computer-imagined emergencies.
  • Today, most people think of
    gaming as video games, first available in arcades, later on television
    screens, and today on mobile devices like smartphones.

This report concerns primarily video gaming, but also the influence of gaming
technology beyond simple entertainment.

Related Faulkner Reports
Virtual Reality Technology Tutorial
Enterprise Uses of Gamification Tutorial
Computational Media, Art, and Design Tutorial

Video gaming is enormously popular. According to
Nielsen, about two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) play video games on
some kind of console or device.2 The evolution of the gaming industry is similar to that of motion pictures. Gaming began with a "silent" era (no sound, no color) with the introduction of
the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972. Just like films, successive
generations offered advances like color, wide-screen, and virtual reality.

Figure 1. Modern-Day VR Gaming

Figure 1. Modern-Day VR Gaming

Source: Flickr

Since the 70s, gaming has progressed from PONG, the first arcade game (1972),
to the Atari 2600, one of the first at-home consoles (1977), to today’s
ultra-sophisticated systems, like Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, and Nintendo

As for platform preferences, 2017 survey data reveals mobile at 32 percent,
followed closely by console (31 percent), PC (23 percent), tablet (10 percent)
and browser PC (4 percent).4

Like other information systems. future generations of video games will be
influenced by developments in:

  • Virtual reality
  • Augmented reality
  • Biometrics (facial and voice, even gesture recognition)
  • Platform diversity
  • Artificial intelligence

Is Gaming Harmful?

Gaming is viewed by some as unhealthy, even habit-forming – the same charges,
incidentally, that were leveled against television when it first started gaining
popularity. Controversially, the World Health Organization recognizes "gaming disorder" as a
real-world affliction5, with parents opining that the "younger
generation" is foregoing sports and other physical activities for the sedentary
pleasures of gaming. More than distracting, some people have posited that
violent video games actually promote violence among the participants.

Others, however, feel that the adverse effects of gaming are exaggerated. As reported by analyst Esther R. Robards-Forbes, Dr. Paul Toprac, who leads the
Games and Mobile Media Application (GAMMA) program at the University of Texas at
Austin, believes that "those who become obsessed with games to the point that it
is detrimental to their everyday lives – that’s a tiny percentage of people." He adds, "In terms of violence, longitudinal studies show there is not an increase in
violent behavior among gamers in real-world situations. There are hundreds of
millions of gamers worldwide. If there was causality there, you’d have
massive levels of violence."6

Simulation Theory

It is, perhaps, a testament to the rapid development of gaming technology
that some thinkers, notably futurist Nick Bostrum, believe that it’s
possible that what we, as human beings, experience as the real world is actually
a game, a computer simulation run by a post-human civilization as a means of
studying their ancestors. Industrialist Elon Musk evens suggests that this
"simulation theory" is overwhelming likely.7

Gaming Applications

[return to top of this report]

While most consumers view gaming – and gaming technology – from an entertainment
perspective, enterprise planners are keen to adapt gaming to more serious
pursuits, especially:

  • "Gamification" or the facilitation of employee training and customer engagement;
  • Healthcare applications to improve cognitive performance and prevent mental


According to analyst Geoff Keston, "Gamification involves applying elements
of games to activities such as training and sales. The practice does not
necessarily involve moving an object around a screen, as in a video game. Instead, it often only involves motivational and scorekeeping techniques such as
the following:

  • "Earning badges
  • "Reaching levels
  • "Accumulating points
  • "Displaying results on leader boards8

"The appeal of gamification to corporations is explained by Mario Herger of
the Enterprise Gamification Consultancy: Games ‘give [employees] instant and
constant feedback, show them learning paths, allow them to socialize with other
players, lead them to mastery, give them epic meaning, and, not to forget, let
them fail a lot. But failing is learning as well.’"9


Far from causing harm, analyst Kimberly Smith reveals that "Some scientific researchers suggest that playing video games can make the mind
of the player sharper and can improve coordination between different systems of
the body."10 Supporting this position, some medical researchers are "experimenting with
[virtual reality] as a way to teach paraplegics how to walk again."11

Other research professionals are looking to gaming to help reverse – or, at least, delay –
disabilities due to aging, providing Baby Boomers in particular with "a sense of
agency and accomplishment." Analyst Jack Crosbie acknowledges the
contributions of Kathrin Gerling, Ph.D., an assistant professor of computer science at KU Leuven
in Belgium, "whose work focuses on human-computer interaction, including
accessible game design for older adults."
As Dr. Gerling observes,
"If you think about [an elder] care facility, we remove any kind of challenge
from that environment. If we can give someone the opportunity to be
competent, or even competitive at something … Say you have someone in
their eighties who plays games for the first time, and they find out they’re
actually good at something [again], that’s a really empowering experience, to
master something, even though society doesn’t expect you to be good at anything

Advances in Gaming Technology

[return to top of this report]

Virtual Reality

Though virtual reality is still an emerging technology, gamers can expect
future VR headset displays to provide a "fully immersive" experience not
available today.13

Although it’s common to view VR as a technology that separates gamers from
their surroundings, including other people, analyst Danni White writes that
"with future gaming technology, players can connect with each other in a virtual
space rather than play alone. Games such as VRChat are already
making this a reality. The future of virtual reality could very much be a space for social interaction
rather than isolation."14

Dr. Paul Toprac, who leads the Games and Mobile Media Application (GAMMA)
program at the University of Texas at Austin, asserts, "Virtual reality is
going to continue to expand quickly, particularly for training purposes and
beyond. The real world has constraints of space and the virtual world does
not. For example, you could have a hundred medical students practicing the
same procedure at the same time, over and over, whereas before, they could only
practice a few at a time."15

Augmented Reality

Like virtual reality, augmented reality has been
under-utilized as a gaming tool. Analyst Danni White, however, forecasts renewed
interest, especially as "augmented reality can be used with gaming apps through smartphones as in the case of Pokémon Go, or it may be used with
virtual reality/augmented reality headsets and future game consoles."16

Dr. Toprac thinks that AR is "the bigger wave right behind VR. This is
where the tech goes with us out in the real world, like glasses that project
information for users. The tech isn’t quite there yet, but in five years,
you’ll see people everywhere wearing AR glasses. It provides the
opportunity for customized experiences and games and, of course, things that are
helpful for people. It’s all run by the same game engines used in video
games, and the game developer skill set carries over to that."17

Facial Recognition

Analyst Rajan Navani foresees facial recognition playing a bigger role in video
gaming within the next two years. "From character creation to judging our
emotions, this tech will be able to bridge the gap between the real world and
the virtual world. The list of companies working on [facial recognition] is endless. Intel
with its RealSense 3D camera allows developers to scan 78 different points in a
person’s face. A dismayed face at the game screen would result in the system
reducing the game’s difficulty. Custom avatars can be created with FR
technology. In China, Tencent uses facial recognition to figure out the user’s

Other Biometrics

In addition to facial recognition, gamers can expect developers to leverage
other biometric methods to inform and enhance gameplay.

With voice recognition, gamers can control games with the spoken word.

Combined with voice recognition, gesture recognition enables gamers to
dispense with hand controllers altogether. According to Mental Floss, "Intel RealSense technology allows
you to play first person shooter games – or simply interact with your device – with
just a few waves of your hand. Using a 3D camera that tracks 22 separate points
in your hand, gesture control allows users to connect with their gaming
experience by using the natural movements of your body. For example, the game
Warrior Wave employs RealSense technology so you can use your hand (the outline
of which shows up on the screen) to lead a group of Ancient Greek soldiers to

Gaming Platforms

Perhaps the biggest advance in gaming technology is platform diversity, with
options like cloud, mobile, and wearable making gaming more accessible to more

Cloud gaming or on-demand gaming permits gamers with a
high-speed Internet connection to extract virtually any game they want from the
cloud.20 Project xCloud, which will officially launch in
October 201921, is Microsoft’s game streaming service. According to
the company, "The future of gaming is a world where you are empowered to play
the games you want, with the people you want, whenever you want, wherever you
are, and on any device of your choosing. Our vision for the evolution of
gaming is similar to music and movies – entertainment should be available on
demand and accessible from any screen."22

With theoretical data rates of up to 10Gb/s, 5G technology should serve to
expedite the adoption of cloud gaming.23

Made possible by smartphones, mobile gaming moves the action from the
living room to the palm of one’s hand.24

Another portability option, wearable gaming refers to the provisioning
of games on smartwatches and glasses.25

Future of Gaming Technology

[return to top of this report]

"Indistinguishable from Real Life"

That’s how analyst Danni White describes the future of gameplay when
manufacturers of virtual reality headsets incorporate photorealistic graphics to
render ultra-high-resolution 3D images.26

Open Source Game Development

Paralleling the interest of application developers, game developers
will increasingly adopt open source methods and solutions.

Analyst Harshajit Sarmah cites three familiar drivers:

  • Source code availability
    – "Every developer looks for convenience and when you have the source code
    of a platform you can customize the features according to your needs. Also, you can add different plugins, which is a big-time benefit."
  • Lower hardware costs – "Linux is a
    great example; it involves low hardware configurations which cuts down the
    cost compared to Windows. Also, it has easy portability and high
  • No license fee – "Licensing can be
    a headache with proprietary software sometimes. And open source can be a
    solution to that; completely open source platforms don’t require any kind of

Games and Artificial Intelligence

Somewhat surprisingly, the intersection of gaming and AI is still on the
horizon. As analyst Nick Statt explains, "Until now, the kind of
self-learning AI – namely the deep learning subset of the broader machine
learning revolution – that’s led to advances in self-driving cars, computer vision, and natural
language processing hasn’t really bled over into commercial game development."28

Analyst Chay Hunter concurs, adding that "game design is one area where AI is
actually a bit behind the times." Hunter, however, believes that AI
has plenty to offer game developers.

  • "AI could speed up the time it takes developers to build levels and
    craft open-world environments.
  • "Developers could … use AI to make the rules of a game changeable – so
    the experience I have playing it could be completely different to yours.
  • "While it’s not likely to happen any time soon, one day we could get a
    self-learning character in a game. One that can change and grow in the
    same way that we humans do."

Hunter’s bottom line: "AI is the future of game design, and one we can and should


1 Merriam-Webster.

"An Exhaustive History of Eight Generations of Video Game Consoles: 1967 to
2018." DID Electrical. December 13, 2018.

3 "The History of Gaming."

4 Ibid.

Jack Crosbie. "In the Future, Senior Citizens Will Play Video Games All Day." January 31, 2019.

6 Esther R. Robards-Forbes. "Six
Predictions about the Future of Gaming from a Computer Scientist." College of
Natural Sciences. The University of Texas at Austin. September 12, 2018.

7 "How Gaming Technology Has Improved."

8 Geoff Keston. "Gamification." Faulkner Information Services.
August 2019.

9 Mario Herger. "10 Surprising Facts about Sales Gamification
Platforms." Enterprise Gamification Consultancy.
May 26, 2015.

10 Kimberly Smith. "The History of Online Gaming and Its Advancement Today." Thrive Global. January 21, 2019.

11 "How Gaming Technology Has Improved."

Jack Crosbie. "In the Future, Senior Citizens Will Play Video Games All Day." January 31, 2019.

13 "11 Unbelievable Advances in Gaming Technology." Mental Floss. 2019.

Danni White. "Future Gaming Technology Predictions for 2020." TechFunnel.
October 12, 2018.

15 Esther R. Robards-Forbes. "Six
Predictions about the Future of Gaming from a Computer Scientist." College of
Natural Sciences. The University of Texas at Austin. September 12, 2018.

Danni White. "Future Gaming Technology Predictions for 2020." TechFunnel.
October 12, 2018.

17 Esther R. Robards-Forbes. "Six
Predictions about the Future of Gaming from a Computer Scientist." College of
Natural Sciences. The University of Texas at Austin. September 12, 2018.

18 Rajan Navani. "2019: New & Emerging Technologies in
Gaming." Entrepreneur Media, Inc. January 3, 2019.

19 "11 Unbelievable Advances in Gaming Technology." Mental Floss. 2019.

20 Rajan Navani. "2019: New & Emerging Technologies in
Gaming." Entrepreneur Media, Inc. January 3, 2019.

21 Rik Henderson. "Microsoft Project xCloud: Release date, beta
and all you need to know about Xbox cloud gaming." Pocket-lint Limited. July 10,

22 Kareem Choudhry. "Project xCloud: Gaming with you at the
center." Microsoft. October 8, 2018.

23 Alan Bradley, Andy Hartup, and Gabe Carey. "The biggest 2019
tech trends, and how they could affect gaming." Future US, Inc. January 30,

24 "11 Unbelievable Advances in Gaming Technology." Mental Floss. 2019.

25 Ibid.

Danni White. "Future Gaming Technology Predictions for 2020." TechFunnel.
October 12, 2018.

27 Harshajit Sarmah. "5 Open Source Game Engines That Developers
Should Get Their Hands On." Analytics India Magazine Pvt Ltd. January 8, 2019.

28 Nick Statt. "How artificial intelligence will revolutionize the way video
games are developed and played." Vox Media, Inc. March 6, 2019.

29 Chay Hunter. "How AI Could Change The Way We Build Video And
Mobile Games." GameAnalytics. May 2, 2019.

[return to
of this report]

About the Author

[return to top of this report]

James G. Barr is a leading business continuity analyst and

business writer with more than 30 years’ IT experience. A member of

"Who’s Who in Finance and Industry," Mr. Barr has designed,

developed, and deployed business continuity plans for a number of Fortune

500 firms. He is the author of several books, including How to

Succeed in Business BY Really Trying, a member of Faulkner’s Advisory

Panel, and a senior editor for Faulkner’s Security Management

Practices. Mr. Barr can be reached via e-mail at

[return to top of this report]