Pocket Gamer Connects London has grown substantially in just a few short years. Now in its fifth year, I last attended in 2017 and its easy to see not just how much the event has grown in the last two years, but in how much has changed. 2017 saw an abundance of VR, with most of the first floor awash with indies pitching their latest VR offerings and investors seemingly falling over themselves to find the ‘next big thing’. Two years on, and it wasn’t until halfway through my second day that I saw my first VR headset – a clear indication of the games industry’s love affair with VR is waning. Not that it will disappear anytime soon – VR remains exciting territory and something for which there remains huge demand from REALTIME’s Automotive division. It will no doubt find its niche in many other industries, whether it be the car configurators REALTIME’s Automotive team create, or any other number of useful applications within other sectors. All of whom will benefit from the new ground that was broken by the innovation of the games industry who first adopted the technology as its own.
Instead, replacing VR at this year’s event was Blockchain gaming – something so prevalent it even justified its own co-headline conference alongside the main event. ‘Blockchain’ is this year’s latest trend in gaming and it was everywhere – not surprising given its potential to revolutionise the way in which games will work in the future. Based on the same technology as cryptocurrency and bitcoin, blockchain gaming has the potential to increase security and instil greater confidence amongst players when making in-game purchases. Whereas items that are ordinarily bought in a traditional game are stored on the developer’s server, and therefore technically owned by them, blockchain decentralizes this, offering direct ownership and a permanent record of all transactions ever made. It offers the potential to create unique experiences and rewards in games that can be traded on a direct peer-to-peer basis.
So it’s no surprise that the Games Industry should grab the opportunity to seize this exciting technology as its own. Like VR, UE4 and the countless innovations that precede these, the games industry has a rich heritage in pioneering new technologies, developing them as their own before their potential is unleashed in other sectors. A good example of this is the continuing advancement of UE4 which continues to find new applications outside of games. Obviously, it continues to be used within games to create cinematics such as those we’ve created for ‘Sea of Thieves’ and ‘Dakar’, but is also used to great effect by our own Automotive team and even applications in TV & Film – something that will no doubt help REALTIME as it continues its future success in this area (Watch this Space!).
In summary, Pocket Gamer not only provided a great opportunity to meet up with old friends and new, it proved to be an opportunity to reflect on how far the Games Industry has come and how it continues to push into new territory that will shape the world of the future.
I look forward to seeing where it will take us next.