Video games are for kids and neckbeards who stream on Twitch, right? $18.4 billion says otherwise.

Today, the video game industry is where innovation is happening. It’s where millions of tech enthusiasts gather in offices and garages and tinker with code, machines, parts, etc. These guys push computing technology to its limit.

What’s the benefit to entrepreneurs and business owners? Tools. Productivity tools, advertising, etc.

Today we’re going to talk about the video game innovations that could change the way you run your business. Let’s side-scroll onward.

1. Artificial Intelligence

I remember when the cutting-edge game Deus Ex came out in 2000. I read a review of the game. It claimed the AI was so advanced that if you used a silenced weapon while standing over a ledge, the guards below would react to the shells falling from your gun.

This was utter B.S. Not artificial intelligence in the slightest. It was merely a trick.

Video game companies have bandied about with the term A.I. for two decades, but only recently have they begun to actually implement the technology in earnest.

Programmers now use machine learning to have enemies self-learn. They become increasingly more human-like as you play the game.

This kind of technology already bled into the business world. Bots are one area in which companies can take advantage. Replacing customer service reps with bots is easier now with machine learning bots.

The bots are now able to trick humans into thinking they’re humans.

Another area in which entrepreneurs can take advantage: machine learning for data analysis.

Advanced AI can analyse data and make recommendations much faster than a human. A well-trained ML could save you hundreds of hours.

2. Virtual Reality

The 90s seemed to ruin all of our VR dreams. VR was all hype and no delivery.

But when Palmer Lucky launched Oculus, early adopters and gamers jumped at the chance to fund his VR vision. And it was the best thing that could have happened to gaming in the last 20 years.

When Facebook bought Oculus, HTC jumped into the mix. Then Microsoft got on board as well.

Today, VR isn’t exactly the juggernaut Lucky promised, but it’s still a viable platform. And businesses are finding ways to implement the tech.

If you run a design company, you might want to invest in a headset and a computer. What if you could show your clients what you’ve been working on but you could have them pick it up and examine it in a virtual space?

Large design firms and architecture firms are already using the tech to put clients in homes before they’re built. And car companies are letting customers drive cars without ever leaving the showroom.

And in 2019, Oculus will release their first fully mobile headset with tracked controllers and six-degrees of movement. You’ll be able to set up a demo in your living room or your office with no wires, no sensors, and all the freedom of a PC enabled headset.

3. Cloud-Based Gaming

Have you tried to build a desktop computer these days? It used to be the cheaper option. But since the cryptocurrency explosion as of late, it’s now cheaper to have someone build one wholesale and sell it to you.

Even then, you’ll be at least $2k in the hole.

Internet technology is creeping up. If you can manage a high speed fiber line, it’s entirely possible to game directly on the cloud. That’s without a local gaming rig.

All you need is a special router and all the computation happens server-side.

If you want to save money on computation, you might want to take advantage of this new tech. Imagine paying a small fee to implement in your office the fastest most reliable hardware in the world.

You wouldn’t need a local network. This means no I.T. cost.

And your software will always be up to date. No need to stay up all night updating every machine in the office.

You could save both money and headaches.

4. Blockchain in Gaming

The gaming industry is barely touching the surface when it comes to blockchain tech. Small games like CryptoKitties might take advantage, but few companies deal with blockchain.

But blockchain could change how gamers interact with their digital assets. As it is, on platforms like Steam, you don’t really own the game. But if sometime down the road a game sales platform decided to use blockchain, they could implement an actual game ownership system.

You’d own the game, and your accomplishments would be indelible.

If blockchain explodes like everyone’s predicting, it could cut out the middleman in most industries. For example, in digital marketing (which you can read more about if you don’t know exactly what it is), we could see esoteric search engines exposed.

Digital marketers would have access to more data. They’d be able to target users accurately rather than using retroactive data and making informed guesses.

5. Augmented Reality

Virtual reality and mobile technology both spurred augmented reality innovation. And the gaming space seems like the most logical place to test this tech.

In mobile gaming, we saw Pokemon Go take over the world. And to users, this almost seemed literal as you could overlay Pokemon animations over the world and watch them fight.

I honestly don’t consider this augmented reality. It’s cheating at augmented reality.

Augmented reality should create the illusion that you’re actually seeing something that isn’t there. You shouldn’t have to hold a phone to “see” whatever it is that’s supposed to be there. It’s not some GhostHunters B.S. but closer to Star Wars holograms.

Both Microsoft HoloLense and Magic Leap are leading the charge in this arena. They’ve developed glasses you can wear. These glasses augment the world around you.

Right now, these glasses are just a clunky and ugly as a VR headset. But soon they’ll pair down these devices to fit into fashionable specs you could wear at any party.

What could you do with these in business? Imagine a teleconference where you could see your coworker sitting in the chair next to you. Imagine being able to speak and bring up a website right in front of their nose.

This tech could spur collaboration between teams like no other technology. What if designers and engineers could work on a project together in real time across the globe. They could manipulate the project in separate workspaces and jointly see the results and talk about them.

Don’t Get Left Behind

Gaming innovation is changing the tech world and the business world. You don’t want to get left behind.

Keep yourself abreast of the industry. Do your research. And above all have fun.

By Ben Mattice

Benjamin Mattice is a freelance writer/editor, horror and sci-fi writer, SEO and affiliate marketing newbie, dog wrestler, cat wrangler, capoeirista, and long distance runner. He lives in the Palouse with his wife, three dogs, two cats, and two rats. Yes, that would probably be considered a mini-zoo.