The Future of Gaming: Virtual, Augmented and Blended

Last weekend, the Tokyo Game Show 2016 opened its doors to the general public with a record attendance of 271,224 visitors. Entering the building, we were greeted by a billboard reading ‘Press Start to Play the Future’. A quick walk around the halls soon revealed a heavy emphasis on virtual reality with the letters ‘VR’ plastered over a number of booths. The future of gaming seems to be taking a sharp turn towards this new technology.

Sony’s main competitors Nintendo and Xbox weren’t in attendance, allowing Sony to dominate the event, showcasing their PSVR (PlayStation Virtual Reality) headset and controllers which will be coming out later this year. Despite being the younger brother of virtual reality, augmented reality was made readily available to the average gamer this year, thanks to the hugely successful Pokemon Go. 

In contrast to this, VR is still not mainstream, although the idea has been around for decades. This looks set to change since Sony weren’t the only ones offering a virtual reality experience, punters had many chances to enter a virtual world through new game demos. It certainly captured the imagination of the crowds, everywhere you looked, people were wearing futuristic-looking headsets, interacting with enemies that only they could see.


Virtual Dating

In line with the trend towards apps and mobile gaming, smartphone games took more of the spotlight than they have in previous years. The most interesting advertising approach we witnessed was a mobile dating simulator game come to life. Women queued for over forty minutes to act out a flirty scene from the game with a man dressed as the one of the characters. A staff member would pass her some tea on a tray to bring to the actor, she set it down in front of him and he acted a bit broody. After the exchange, the curtain dropped and the tray was taken back for the next fan to use.

Trading “Likes” for goodies

With so many companies occupying the halls of Makumari Messe vying for attention from potential consumers, how were they getting their names out there? Social media marketing seemed to be a big priority with many booths, such as Monster and Twitch, offering freebies in exchange for Twitter hashtags and Facebook likes.

Games are moving with the trends, reflecting how much time we spend on mobile devices as well as our hunger for more and more technologically advanced consoles. The question now is, how will companies incorporate these trends into their marketing strategies?