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July 25, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:38am

5 technologies the business world has borrowed from gaming

These are the ideas that will get you the high score.

By Vinod

Gaming is more popular today than ever before, as more and more of us log on to our consoles or go online to play. But as this popularity has increased, we’re seeing aspects of the gaming world seep into our everyday lives. What starts off inside a virtual world can often prove extremely useful in real-life, expanding the horizons of what companies can achieve.

Here are some things you may never have considered could have come from the world of gaming…



Perhaps most unsurprisingly, companies are increasingly using games to affect the way we approach many everyday tasks. It has long been known that rewarding people, even for seemingly small accomplishments, gives them a high sense of satisfaction and is likely to encourage them to repeat certain tasks, and many different areas of technology now use these techniques.

Fitness trackers are probably the most common, as they challenge you to achieve a certain goal each day, rewarding you with praise, unlocked achievements and even virtual medals for accomplishing certain things. Think also of apps like Foursquare, which can reward users with perks or vouchers if they visit a certain location several times. More commonly, sales agents are encouraged to ‘level up’ their activities as they work towards a certain goal, with big rewards promised at the end, showing that gamification can have a real motivational effect.

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eye tracking


Staying focused is a key part of succeeding in gaming, and this means keeping your eyes on the screen at all times. Eye-tracking and capture technology has become more and more common over the past few years as professional gamers look to develop and improve their skills, allowing them to analyse where they are concentrating their focus and if this can be improved. Ultimately this technology may be used to allow users to fully control games using just their eyes, but it could also be useful for the business world too.

Tracking where a user looks on a screen would provide excellent insights for marketing and advertising firms, which could use the data to develop more effective and eye-catching campaigns to draw in more customers.

Device manufacturers can also use the technology for battery-saving purposes, to track when a user is not focusing on the screen to save power, as well as providing a biometric option for unlocking the device. Samsung’s recent Galaxy S5 device included such a feature, which also allowed the pausing of video files when a user looks away from the screen.


Cloud connectivity

Online gaming can involve hundreds of thousands, if not millions of players, with the biggest MMORPGs often hosting players from all around the world, who can get very angry if their gaming experience suffers from slowdowns or connection problems. Hosting companies therefore need to invest in serious hardware power to ensure their games stay online and run smoothly, with hugely powerful cloud systems providing the means to stay active.

The gaming world taught the business universe much of what it needed to know in the early days of cloud computing, and this co-operation has continued to this day, as such services are now being transported over to help power other graphics-intensive applications such as CAD programs, medical imaging software, and more.


Virtual currency

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have become big news over the last year or so, with more and more companies deciding to accept them to expand their possible revenue streams. The value of Bitcoin has endured several ups and downs during its history, but is still worth around £350 per unit, a valuable proposition in anyone’s book.

But cryptocurrencies have been around long before the likes of Bitcoin came about. Video games pioneered the use of alternative money systems, with diehard players often shelling out serious amount of real-world money to get their hands on a stash of virtual cash. Companies such as IGE and 6K Gold run a multitude of gaming currency trades, which rise and fall like stock exchanges, teaching many gamers the lessons of investing in currencies.


Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual Reality as a gaming concept first took off in the mid-1990s, when Nintendo’s Virtual Boy was released to an world eager to embrace the futuristic concept. Promising an immersive, realistic experience, sadly it failed to live up to the hype, and was discontinued a year after its release. But the idea of playing or living in a virtual world has always held a high place in the modern world, with companies like Oculus, recently acquired by Facebook for $2bn, leading a renaissance of virtual reality-enabled gaming, as the hardware needed has finally caught up with gamers’ expectations.

But the technology can also be linked to the growing field of Augmented Reality (AR), which is greatly expanding the possibilities for many areas of business. Using sensors picked up by a mobile device’s camera, AR can provide a range of services, from displaying an assembly guide for a new product to training mechanics how to repair or replace equipment in dangerous situations which wouldn’t allow for on the job run-throughs. Expect to see a lot more from AR as companies develop new and more innovative ways to utilise the technology.



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