Gaming graphics have come a seriously long way since the 20th century, with some of the most recent developments showcasing unbelievably clear and realistic displays. Software developers are constantly searching for ways to upgrade their graphics, but it’s often not even down to them.
The evolution of graphics in gaming arguably has more to do with advances in computer and gaming console hardware than anything else. Without the processing power, effects provided by the highly celebrated Unreal 5 engine would be impossible. Since the early 1970s, scientists and computer engineers have slowly been uncovering the secrets to ultra-realistic graphics, but it’s only in the last decade or so that many things have become practical.
So, want to know more about the evolution of graphics in gaming? Keep reading for an exploration of this fascinating topic, including a few examples of the best games and how graphics will evolve even further in the future.
The earliest computer game graphics
Looking at the earliest computer game graphics is a great way to track the evolution of this technology. Spacewar!, a very simple title that offered primitive graphics largely based around pixels, is widely regarded as being the first genuine computer game. Unfortunately, it wasn’t at all practical, since players would need to lug around a massive computer that could hardly fit into a room at the time.
Computer game graphics didn’t advance much until the 1980s when the increasing popularity of arcades led to the refinement of visuals. These games still weren’t anywhere near what we can play today, but they did at least start to represent things in a less primitive way. For example, 2D platform games like Space Invaders were a notable improvement on the aforementioned Spacewar!, which didn’t have much more than lines on a screen for players to enjoy.
How the PlayStation and Xbox changed graphics for the better
One of the most significant landmarks in the history of computer game graphics was the launch of Sony’s PlayStation in 1994. While gamers had other commercial consoles available before this, the PS1 represented a significant improvement in graphics. It also gave gaming developers a platform they could use to enhance games, especially as it became increasingly clear that the PlayStation would end up being a leading game console throughout the latter half of the 1990s.
Microsoft also launched the Xbox in the early 2000s, building on the successful blueprint created by Sony. Together, these two consoles would push computer game graphics into new realms. This became even more apparent with the next generation of consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360.
Gamers have Sony and Microsoft to thank for their roles in pushing computer game graphics forward. One must only consider the fanfare and intense excitement that surrounded the launches of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X to understand their impact on the gaming community. People could hardly believe their eyes when they saw how clear the graphics had become, with many of us mistaking the visuals of next-gen games like Gran Turismo 7 for those of real life.
Recent advances in computer game graphics
Recent advances in computer graphics are not only visible on the new PlayStation and Xbox consoles. In fact, some of the most significant upgrades are reserved for PC games, where software developers have taken advantage of hardware components such as the NVIDIA GV100. This graphics card costs upwards of $20,000 but delivers insanely high-quality graphics that can be used for virtual reality and other state-of-the-art technology.
In other areas, the online casino industry has also benefited from significantly enhanced visuals. LeoVegas New Zealand and other platforms offer complex games like Megaways slots that wouldn’t be possible without the recent technological advances. Live dealer games have also been made possible due to advances in live streaming and camera quality.
What does the future hold for game graphics?
The future looks incredibly bright for computer game graphics, and software developers aren’t going to stop designing fantastic visuals anytime soon. We expect things like machine learning to dramatically improve processing power, while the upcoming emergence of quantum computing is highly anticipated to push things even further.
Many game designers are working towards the eventual goal of creating computer game graphics that are so realistic you cannot tell them from true reality. When combined with accessories like virtual reality headsets, this will have the potential to completely change our ideas of what computer games can be.