A Look Back and Into the Future of Gaming and VoIP

A certain breed of people exist who have an apparent unquenchable thirst to be the first in everything. These people probably start early in life by insisting to be the line leader in grade school – always the first person to enter the bathroom or receive a tray at lunch time. Later in life, this person is one who will wait outside an Apple Store every time the iPhone receives a makeover.

It’s good to be a go getter. Although people with a compulsion to constantly update technology may spend more money than needed, it is a good way to stay on top of current trends. Quickly adopting new technology is a great way to stay in touch with an evolving culture.

Maybe you’re not the first in the line for the latest and greatest but you likely know someone who will obtain new products as soon as they are available to the public. While it may seem like a waste of time, money and energy, this passion has a kind of radiant, permeating affect. As they blab to you about their new toy, you may begin to trail off and begin to feel sorry for their parents or spouse who are less interested than you. But at the same time – were you not impressed the first time you observed (or used for yourself) an application that can snap a picture of a check and instantly deposit it in a bank account?

The PlayStation 4

Even though I’m not anti-gaming by any means, it isn’t a compelling hobby. I am intrigued by this next generation of video game systems but not overwhelmed with excitement. Friends who acquired the PS4 on its launch date of Nov 15th, 2013 have yet to bend my ear about their new system which is somewhat surprising. Although, I have managed to see some screenshots posted by elated users on both Facebook and Twitter.

In its first day alone, Sony sold the entirety of its shipment – over 1 million units were sold in 24 hours. It’s no wonder that the PlayStation Network crashed after a few hours of the console launch. Because the PS4 provides continual power to the NICs installed, it maintains a constant internet connection. So the minute you type in the password to your wireless network or plug the console into a gateway, you are constantly connected.

This overload made downloading updates impossible after a certain point. As people everywhere connected their PS4 to the internet, all began to commence downloading updates. Of course, online gaming with popular titles like Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 took a major hit. Gamers should be somewhat solaced due to Sony’s quick response to the network overload. However, it makes me wonder how aggressively the problem will be confronted.

Since the PS4 makes use of a very powerful camera and a broader range of headsets, more network bandwidth will be consumed. With a more versatile way to communicate with the PlayStation VoIP network, those with any will to communicate will likely participate. The camera will integrate with some networked games sending large amounts of the visual data it collects across the network. Unless a large overhaul is made to the network to correct the updating problems, the quality of online multi-player games will suffer.

First VoIP and Gaming

It’s funny for those of us who remember the original Nintendo from the 80’s to think that communicating both with audio and visual data have become such critical components to gaming. It shows us people are driven by a need to communicate. Never has the human race been so broadly connected. We can thank the internet for this phenomenon.

Taking a look at VoIP technology, the first internet phone was available in 1995 from a company called VocalTec. At this point, the only reason it was anything to get excited over was because of the technology. In reality, the phone was a pain to operate. However, an unsuspecting market would later contribute to a wide adoption of this technology.

Overall, VoIP didn’t reach a large number subscribers until the later part of last decade. Actually, it could be said that one of the biggest markets for VoIP in its very early days was for use within video games. It was early at the turn of the millennium that select video games began utilizing voice chatting features for online communication.

Gamers became early adopters making them the first large market to actually use VoIP. The first console to use VoIP was the Sega Dreamcast in 2000 with the DreamCall platform. Although the system was not very successful overall, this concept was quickly applied to other systems and virtually every system since this time.

VoIP for video games was in use before it became a staple for business in other industries or even Skype, which was introduced in 2003. The PlayStation 2 had its own optional peripheral – the Network Adapter – that enabled early networked games like the Socom series to take off. A large selling point for these games was the ability to actually speak to others through the game’s internet connection and an appropriate headset.

Early online games had to rely on servers built (or leased) by the game manufacturers. Today, most online game servers are hosted on powerful cloud architecture like those of the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live. Within each of these services lays an UC infrastructure that gives gamers the capability to use SMS, talk to selected members and video chat.

The Best Yet to Come

I’ve mentioned to others in the communications field that I have a strong feeling the next revolutionary idea to come for telecom will likely be because of gaming. Very specialized recording devices are now a regular part of gaming because of devices like the PlayStation Camera and the Xbox One Kinect. The incredible amount of detail that is needed could churn a new wave of development for advanced methods of transmitting very data rich streams over the internet.

About the author  ⁄ Mike

Mike has written for WhichVoIP.com for many years and has an extensive knowledge of the telecommunications market.

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