How football videogames are blurring reality
fifa 16

One objective that all sports simulations strive for is that of achieving a believable reality. As the players of the games are usually huge fans of the sport, it’s become increasingly important for developers to maximise the technological possibilities to ensure that visuals, audio, and gameplay accurately reflect the real thing.

However, in the past couple of years, the power offered by some football games has become so advanced as to even overshadow our efforts in the real world.

One of the hardest things for computers to replicate is that of the human body. We’re programmed to become so expert in recognising the slightest details about a person, that any deficiency in a computerised representation will instantly cause a negative impact in the gamer’s playing experience.

However, the recent games of FIFA have utilised advanced facial capturing technology to create accurate representations of real players. By using up to eighteen high resolution cameras to capture a three-dimensional representation of a player, the resultant image is surprisingly well-defined.

Interestingly, the developers, The Capture Lab, have stated that the more wrinkled and old the face is, the more it seems to suit the eventual on-screen representation. But with FIFA 16 finally introducing female teams into the gaming format after years of frustration due to limited player modelling technology, it seems that the graphical capabilities of these phenomenal games is finally starting to catch up to real-life.

But one area in which football gaming seems to have surpassed the real-world is that of strategy and commentary. Sky Sports recently received a wave of online ridicule due to their use of the popular strategy game Football Manager as a way of analysing Premier League players.

And whilst this may initially seem comical, the sheer weight of statistics and analysis that is put into the development of Football Manager illustrates how useful such technology could become. This is because in the realm of sports, statistics are often key. And with sites like Bookies.com using a vast range of information and facts to produce fair and balanced odds on football games, it’s a testament to how far 21st century sport has come.

But it’s the next wave of virtual reality devices such as Oculus Rift that are really getting sports gamers excited. These could offer a fully-immersive sporting experience that could see them living out the activities of their favourite teams in a deeply authentic manner.

The graphical displays of such devices are still some way from becoming sufficiently detailed to provide an accurate 360 degree picture of the new reality. But as the likes of the Dallas Cowboys have started using virtual reality devices to augment their American Football training, it seems that the line between gaming and ‘real’ sports has become a little more blurry.