Chatting and Gaming, Today and TomorrowDavid Burgundy | 21 Jul 2017
As technology integrates into more areas of our lives, gaming is becoming multi-faceted. Games are no longer solely focused on a singular activity, but on the overall experience they offer. Leaders in the field are recognising that social interaction mediums and opportunities are now a non-negotiable requirement on gaming platforms, and are working towards including the social aspect wherever possible.
Social interaction on game platforms comes in all shapes and sizes. As a whole, society is using video games for education and leisure in much more creative ways than ever before, and messaging apps are becoming part of this too. From teaching children social skills or interaction techniques by using games like The Sims, to specifically targeted educational games like Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster, video games are infiltrating every sector of our lives.
It’s now also possible to access other apps from inside messenger apps, so that you can do everything from placing bets online, to ordering your next Uber ride without navigating away from your conversation. This bridges the gap between gaming, socialising and organising your daily tasks, and is further proof as to how apps are integrating with, and streamlining our daily lives.
A World of Possibilities
While chatbots are becoming more common, there are plenty of other new ways that gamers are able to interact with each other. Games are also being used for many different new functions, such as serious games that provide academic material and even games with a conscience that raise awareness around different issues. Eyewire, NOVA and Phylo have all been very successfully used in the medical field and aim to bolster knowledge and educate, while Games for Change focuses on fostering social awareness.
It’s also very common to share playing achievements on social media platforms and on dedicated gaming forums, and to post tutorials or reviews of games on YouTube and other video channels. Popular YouTube channels such as MKBHD, OT4Tech and PocketNow are raking in huge sums of money simply for sharing their tech reviews online, while Super Bunnyhop and generation16 are attracting a lot of attention with their game reviews.
Many brands have also cottoned on to the idea of social gamification, and are using social media and YouTube to promote their products, while incentivising interaction and fostering a healthy spirit of competition. The Nike+ campaign saw users upload their results on social media and quickly grew a community of like-minded individuals who encouraged each other, and M&M launched their hugely successful Pretzel Hunt, which went viral after players competed for a top spot on the leaderboard.
How Do Chatbots Work?
Chatbots are programmes that have been designed to simulate human interaction. They are part of the new wave of Artificial Intelligence that is sweeping the world, and have the potential to make gaming and other experiences such as travel more intuitive, easier and more streamlined.
Chatbots can be separated into two distinct categories. There are chatbots that function according to a set of rules, and those that are more advanced and utilise machine learning. Chatbots that function on rules are incredibly limited, as they can only respond to very specific commands or prompts, and if you don’t say the correct thing, they cannot determine a response. The bot is programmed to a set standard and cannot deviate from its script.
In contrast, chatbots that function with machine learning make use of AI, and have an artificial ‘brain’. The bot doesn’t require you to be specific when speaking to it, nor does it require set prompts. These more advanced bots become more intelligent with use, they learn from conversations and are able to adapt their answers and actions accordingly.
Both bots are created to fulfil a purpose and although they may seem simple, the technology that goes into developing them is incredibly complex. This is especially true with machine learning bots, as AI is constantly evolving and developing, with new applications coming to the fore all the time.
Bots already serve numerous applications and as a non-gaming related example we can look at a retail clothing store chatbot that can let you know when sizes or styles that you like have come in. Or a weather chatbot that will send you a detailed forecast if you simply type “current conditions” into the chat window.
Chatting Into the Future
Live chat apps, social gaming and chatbots look very much to be the way of the future and as industry experts have predicted that as technology improves and AI developments become more prevalent, we will see the lines between chatting and gaming blur, and social interaction will take on a whole new slant.