Gone are the days when the gaming industry was a specialized market catering to a specific age group or demographic. The success of AAA games, and advancements in the hardware required to play such games, means gaming has become a widely accepted and appreciated form of entertainment for players of all backgrounds and ages. The industry's revenue has increased as a result of progression from niche to mainstream and by 2025 the worldwide gaming market is expected to be worth $256.97 billion (up from roughly $151.55 billion in 2019). According to industry statistics, the gaming sector is expected to increase at a 9.17% annual pace from 2020 to 2025.
The gaming industry is responsible for many improvements in modern personal computers, including sound cards, graphics cards and 3D graphic accelerators, faster CPUs, and dedicated co-processors like PhysX. Sound cards, for example, were first designed to give digital-quality sound to games and were only subsequently upgraded for use in the music business. Graphics cards were first created to allow for additional screen colours and later used to support graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and games meaning higher resolutions and 3D acceleration were required as a result.
How Audio Upscales Gaming Experiences
Audio plays a huge role in the immersive experience games provide. A single sound can be used for a variety of purposes.
Audio can be used in games in many ways to help create a more immersive experience:
Narrative sound: Every action in a game is followed, or partnered, with a sound that makes it seem “real”, everything we see has an inherent sound. One of the most potent ways to lose that sense of suspending disbelief whilst playing a game is if we don't hear something when we expect to. Narrative sound is key in the audio experience of a game is because it supports the story, the background music, along with the narrative sound, creates an environment where the player feels a plethora of emotions.
Creating an atmosphere or mood: Every sound and note we hear in a game has the potential to evoke an emotional response. For example, while playing the main mission of certain games, developers intentionally add fast-paced, tense music, this invokes certain emotions in the player and psychologically adds more challenge. This often happens during the boss fights in the game.
Intensifying or emphasizing action: One way we witness this in games is in competitive shooter games where audio not only enhances and intensifies actions and combat it can also make players aware of an enemy approaching by hearing their footsteps…
Latest Innovations in Audio Technology
The latest tech innovations are widening horizons for not only both developers and audiences as we have seen previously in the evolution of gaming consoles and even PCs. The latest tech focuses on delivering exclusive sound technology via 3D audio through headphones. The platform owners are supporting this new feature by releasing dedicated headphones as well as wireless headsets. For example, Dolby Atmos surrounds you with crisp sound and immerses you in the newest gaming soundtrack with three-dimensional precision meaning you enjoy a superior positional audio experience.
The advances in the audio technology space are sure to transform gaming further with time. Games are not confined to mimicking real-life sounds but can go beyond them. The moment for 3D audio technology has arrived, with solutions that will shortly replace conventional 2D audio technologies. When new systems are released, gamers desire differentiation, and developers must search out 3D audio solutions to match their demand for 'heightened' experiences.