If there is one thing that springs to mind when we think of the latest gaming hardware to make its way onto the market over the course of the past year, it is, ironically, the fact that much of it is still waiting to make its way onto the market.
What we mean by that, of course, is the fact that so many of the world’s leading tech companies are inexplicably wrangling with stock shortages – and an unprecedented level of demand for the hardware that, throughout the previous year, promised to bring the gamers of the world into a brand new generation marked by superior technology and limitless potential for game developers.
Such are the vertiginous heights created by big promises – and, of course, what is beginning to seem like a distinct lack of preparedness from tech companies as diverse as Microsoft (for which the release of the Xbox Series X is still ongoing), Sony (a company which, like Microsoft, has been grappling with stock shortages since day one of the PlayStation’s 5 release, even in spite of its newfound status as the fastest selling console of all time) and, of course Nvidia, who have just recently announced yet more delays are expected.
Already, there are those who anticipate these unprecedented shortages making a permanent impact on the gaming world, and paving the way for a future where the emphasis shifts definitively away from hardware, and toward digital alternatives. Read more below.
Software and the Clouds
The notion of there being a mass shift away from dedicated hardware, and toward digital alternatives, is not a new one – even when the release of the next-gen consoles seemed like an exciting, rather than frustrating, prospect, there were plenty of areas of the gaming world for which the emphasis already lay beyond consoles or external GPUs.
Some of the leading gaming destinations are already thriving in a world that relies on software development, rather than bulky hardware. To name just a few, we have the immensely popular and world-renowned gaming site GGPoker.co.uk, which offers mobile and PC optimised software that does not demand a full gaming-rig PC to play to a high standard.
In addition to those titles and sites making waves on the world wide web, there are the 957,390 gaming apps available on the iOS App Store alone. In tandem, we can see the latest cloud gaming solutions from Amazon, Google and Microsoft which enable any title in their enviable content libraires to be played without demanding a high performance from the PC. Rather, the onus of operating these complex games falls on remote servers.
In essence, some of the main cornerstones of the gaming industry are already operating, to varying degrees, away from the latest innovations in hardware. The result is a more accessible landscape for gamers – many of whom are reluctant to invest in new technologies which, in all likelihood, will be surpassed in a matter of years or, at times, months.
Can Tech Manufacturers Reverse the Disappointment
2020 will always be remembered as a big year for the gaming world, with incredible highs and lows for every part of the whole, and landmark moments that will no doubt come to define the coming years. Still, it also seems highly unlikely that the industry will be quick to shake off the unfortunate side effects of multiple overly ambitious tech releases – particularly when we consider those flops alongside the mammoth success of game developers and services that are running against the current, and eschewing the need for expensive hardware.
Time will tell how much of an impact that has on the future – but, suffice to say that disappointment is a difficult beast to wrangle, particularly when those who have caused it seem to be running against the clock.