If you’ve played a modern video game you’ll know that they’re looking pretty good these days. Things have come a long way since a yellow blob scooted about a fuzzy CRT screen and tried to pass itself off as a character. Which is to say; a lot of imagination was required when video games first became a thing.
Today gamers aren’t happy unless resolutions are four times that of high definition, because of course they are, and explosions look so real that you can all but smell the cooking flesh of the enemy soldiers you just blew up. The improvements over an astonishingly short period of time really are impressive to behold.
But now imagine for a second that you’re Nvidia, the makers of the most renowned graphics cards the industry has to offer. Plus imagine that it’s starting to become more than a little obvious that graphics really are reaching a sort of pinnacle. They look about as good as you could possibly hope for, and really can only improve by small increments.
How, the question is, do you keep justifying the enormous price tags on your graphics cards? By introducing new technology of course, and convincing so-called elite gamers that this new tech is the difference between an average looking game, and one that justifies a huge price tag. Hence we have the new RTX range of graphics cards from Nvidia that make use of ray tracing.
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What Is Ray Tracing?
Ray tracing is primarily used for creating exceptionally realistic reflections in digital worlds. In short, the paths between objects, and the surfaces they are reflected on, are accurately simulated; in much the same way reflections occur in the real world. The result is reflected surfaces that look about as realistic as you could possibly ask for, creating a next level visual representation of reality.
The catch is that this sort of graphics simulation comes at an extremely high cost in terms of computer processing power. This is primarily why the line of new Nvidia graphics cards that make use of this technology cost up to, and even beyond, $1,000. But questions are being raised as to whether ray tracing really is necessary in the world of video games, or if this is simply starting to be a case of Nvidia struggling to justify more expensive graphics cards in an increasingly frivolous market?
As already said, video game graphics are currently reaching a pinnacle point. Improvements at this stage are starting to seem unnecessary, which raises a number of questions about not only the future of graphics, but also the future of video games as a whole. What will happen to the video game market once graphics no longer need to be improved?
The answer seems to be that it will be the games themselves that have to find ways of being new and interesting, instead of the industry being driven by advancements in the visual department alone. If anything, this may just be exactly what the video game industry needed.