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Exploring the Increasingly Tech-Driven World of Card Games

Card games have been around for centuries, being a clear-cut way for people to enjoy some competitive entertainment in a social setting. Sometimes, the social setting isn’t even required, with solitaire continuing to be a popular game to play. Through innovative game designers, cards have evolved far beyond the classic deck of 52, and while there are indisputable issues with the controllers, even the Nintendo Switch has become a card gaming hub.

In 2022, the Financial Times picked up on card games’ enduring presence in pop culture. The respected outlet cited Card Shark and Inscryption of last year as surprising and delightful modern card game renditions. While the Switch can offer an edge over other platforms via its touch screen, the contemporary space of tech-driven card games goes beyond these digitizations.

Utilizing live tech for real-time card gaming

Image Source: Unplash

For the most part, people will be familiar with live streaming being used to watch sports from around the world, be it the UEFA Champions League or the IPL. Through the emergence of platforms like Twitch, however, platforms began to realize the power of this technology. Not only does it offer a real-time view of the action where anything can happen, but it’s also far more authentic than a cut and scripted video.

Now, one of the oldest card games – that was also the name of a 2013 flick with Shiva Rajkumar – has been given a huge boost through live-streaming tech. Played in real-time at a professional studio, Andar Bahar is a live casino game online that allows players to bet live on each round. This is made possible by OCR and a GCU, which combine to feed the program the results of the cards shown, thus determining winners.

It’s a very clever use of live-streaming tech as it essentially gives casino players from around the world a chance to play a classic card game as if at a land-based venue. Competitive card games look to be the next target of live-streaming applications. The platform Cardboard.Live is developing a way to integrate live streaming to allow viewers to examine cards being played, streamers to interact with the action, and organizers to manage deck lists.

Bringing the cards to life in another reality

Particularly for anyone who grew up with TCGs and CCGs, there has long been a desire for the characters, creatures, and heroes depicted on the cards to come to life. This was only fuelled by TV shows that would, more or less, flog the card games doing exactly that. With the market expected to grow exponentially to reach $451.5 billion by 2030, it’s safe to say that augmented and virtual reality might be ready to deliver on these hopes.

As of the time of writing, two AR card games stand out as the more advanced options. Genesis AR was first revealed in 2015 as a card game played through your smartphone’s camera and its dedicated app. It would bring the characters on the card to life and then let you control them into battle. The other is Lightseekers Awakening, which uses AR functionality as a part of a whole gaming world on several platforms.

Much more might be on the way, though. Both of the AR card games above heavily rely on smartphones to bring the games to life. This year, though, Apple looks to finally launch its long-awaited mixed-reality headset. It is already supposed to be in the hands of software developers so that they can get started on apps. With a launch likely penciled in for mid-to-late 2023, the headset would be the perfect hardware to base an AR card from simply due to its ease of use.

The heavily backed algorithm-generated card game

A common problem that can arise in collectible and trading card games is that, in competition, people can turn up with much of the same deck, or have proven and clear ways to counter popular builds. For those not playing at the top, they can get these leading deck lists online to win in social circles, and it all starts to grate on many players. In 2018, though, the creator of Magic: The Gathering (Richard Garfield) sought to change this with KeyForge.

Garfield says that the idea for the game had been in the works for a while, but it took until five years ago for the right technology to be in place. KeyForge is distinct in that two decks – which come in blind boxes – can never be the same. This is thanks to the procedural algorithm, but in September 2021, the program broke. Since then, its former publisher sold the rights to a new company, Ghost Galaxy, which has seemingly solved the issue and has commenced crowdfunding to bring new cards and decks to the ecosystem.

Through live streaming, augmented reality, and sophisticated algorithms, card gaming has come an incredibly long way to become a high and low-tech entertainment medium.


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