EI September 2020

Page 38



Titles such as Star Wars Battle Front have highly impressive imaging

Tim Sinnaeve, Managing Director for Barco Residential, provides his take on the future for high-quality gaming in the AV and install sector. High-end gaming is a topic that our industry has been interested in for many years, but not really something we have pro-actively offered as a core experience to our clients, at least not in the same way as home cinema. There is no time like the present. The number of gamers has been steadily growing, and some games have rivalled the success of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters. Grand Theft Auto V had a production budget of $266M, generated over $6Bn in profits, and has been called the ‘most profitable entertainment product ever’. Covid-19 has only accelerated that, with gaming one of the few industries seeing a major revenue boost. This crisis has awakened the casual gamer in all of us, and our clients have never been more receptive. Also, in terms of content and technology, the time is right. Gaming technology has been making enormous strides, both in terms of the capabilities of gaming engines like Unreal used to create the games themselves, but also in terms the of the gaming hardware that



is finally capable of running these games in 4K at 60+ fps at the highest quality settings, all-important for the high-end gaming experience we will be talking about. Features like real-time Ray Tracing (long used in movie CGI where render farms can spend hours on rendering each frame), take things to the next level, but make even today’s fastest GPUs stumble. The next months should see the next generation of GPU’s which should finally enable us to achieve 4K 60fps+ at the highest quality settings with Ray Tracing enabled. The next generation of gaming consoles that support Ray Tracing is also almost upon us, but on the high-end, we believe PC gaming is still where it’s at. While the latest gaming engines deliver photo-realistic and movie CGI quality visuals, even older games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (now also the basis for a popular Netflix series) look stunning now that we can finally run them in 4K resolution with all quality settings maxed out. As with movies, it’s amazing to experience your favourite games ‘like you’ve never seen them before’. All of the above gives our industry an exciting opportunity to offer our clients realistically rendered gaming environments in 4K at 60+ fps for a gaming experience most of them have never seen or even imagined.

Most gamers even with the most powerful gaming rigs are condemned to gaming on a 27in or 32in computer monitor (or a few of them stitched together). There are also a few dedicated OLED 65in gaming displays, but even those don’t come close to cutting it in our opinion. For our clients, we want to deliver truly immersive gaming. What is more immersive than life size? High-end gaming is a great example of how the different technologies we use to create our architecturally integrated digital canvases can enable different experiences. We could again ‘Push over the Wall’ by projection mapping a whole wall for instance, but this time instead of creating a Window on the World, we are creating a portal into the ultimate gaming experience. Here we will focus on projection as the base technology for our gaming digital canvas, as it offers a lot of flexibility and advantages for gaming and also tends to be the preferred technology for professional simulators. So where do we start? As per above, when we tailor our Digital Canvas for the ultimate gaming experience, we want to go as close to life-size as we possibly can. This means high brightness is going to be very important, especially as gaming tends to take place with more ambient light. We also want 4K resolution and HDR capability at 60+ fps, so we can take full advantage of the


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