Top 10 Most Influential Projects by Industry

Gaming

MIP_Flag Most Influential Projects 2021
Microsoft Game Accessibility Testing Service Image 1
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Microsoft Game Accessibility Testing
Gaming | Europe
There are nearly 46 million gamers with disabilities in the United States alone, and those kinds of numbers are driving Microsoft to develop a better experience for both players and developers around the world. The tech giant began working on a first-of-its-kind testing service that has subject matter experts and gamers with disabilities vet the games against revised Xbox Accessibility Guidelines (XAGs), including best practices for text displays, visual cues and haptic feedback. That feedback is then provided to game makers so they can create more exclusive designs and flag accessibility issues earlier to projects on track. Within one month of the service’s February launch, the team had tested five titles and logged 177 concerns.
32nd Most Influential Project of 2021
MIP_Flag Most Influential Projects 2021
Playstation 5
02
PlayStation 5
Gaming | Asia Pacific
Japan’s Sony rewrote the gaming playbook for PlayStation 5 (PS5) with a radical departure from its previous console iterations. The PS5 was bigger, more powerful and way more immersive. Within five months of PS5’s November 2020 debut in North America and Europe, Sony had sold 7.8 million of the machines—which PlayStation’s president declared the biggest console launch in history. According to Sony, users logged 81 percent more time on the console in early 2021 than they did during a similar post-launch period for the PS4.
35th Most Influential Project of 2021
GeForce RTX 30 Series
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GeForce RTX 30 Series
Gaming
Since when do graphics card product releases prompt online retailers to sell out in seconds and brick-and-mortar customer lines to snake around the block? The answer: ever since the Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 Series dropped in September 2020. Heralded as the most powerful graphics cards to date, the graphic processing units combine traditional graphics processing with ray tracing to deliver gaming resolutions up to 8K. And an AI-dedicated processing core finds all the shortcuts and workarounds to speed that processing up, so it doesn’t interfere with gameplay—effectively closing the quality gap between games and movies.
Dorfromantik
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Dorfromantik
Gaming | Europe
Think of it as Farmville or Oregon Trail for the climate-crisis times we live in. German game developer Toukana Interactive, in partnership with Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, DE:HIVE and Unity, created a game that charges users with completing urban-planning tasks and repairing broken infrastructure, with an eye on sustainability. But rather than an adrenaline-inducing challenge, the game encourages a Zen-like game play, with meditative visuals and a nature-inspired soundtrack. The game was a surprise hit when the team rolled out a limited release in March, with a full release slated for 2022.
Herman Miller X Logitech G Embody
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Herman Miller X Logitech G Embody
Gaming
Many gaming chairs are bulky, pushing recline and faux leather as notable features. U.S. furniture company Herman Miller goes in a different direction with its first official gaming chair, designed in collaboration with Swiss gaming company Logitech G. But before the chair was released in July 2020, the two companies spent nearly two years studying esport pros and players around the globe to understand their needs. Armed with that info, the company decided to adapt a mainstay of corporate offices: Herman Miller’s Embody. But the team did add some accoutrement specifically for gamers, including cooling foam with copper-infused particles that support the ideal gaming posture and reduce heat buildup.
Star Wars: Squadrons
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Star Wars: Squadrons
Gaming
Traditional console or virtual reality headset? The team behind Star Wars: Squadrons disregarded the this-or-that binary, developing a first-person multiplayer game that plays equally well on a screen and as a fully immersive experience. Released in October 2020 as the first big project from EA’s studio Motive, the game puts players ever closer to a galaxy far, far away with intense dogfights and fleet battles, complete with a heroic narrative.
Rival Peak
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Rival Peak
Gaming
Part game, part TV show, massive interactive live events (MILEs) just might be the next big thing in videogames. Leading the way is Rival Peak, a MILE in which 12 AI characters compete in a Survivor-esque reality competition, both aided and influenced by real-life players. The project’s concept stretches back more than a decade, Genvid’s CEO has said, but couldn’t be realized until the technologies—namely cloud gaming and streaming— matured.
Louis the Game
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Louis the Game
Gaming
Timed to the 200th anniversary of the Louis Vuitton brand, this mobile adventure game centers on the designer himself. Users follow brand mascot Vivienne through six different fashion worlds, where she must collect candles to mark the designer’s birthday. Alongside customizable monogram prints and colorways, and some history on the brand, the game features 30 nonfungible tokens by artist Beeple. Pop culture site Highsnobiety declared it “better than Fortnite,” and within one week of its August debut, more than half a million people had downloaded the game.
09
Project Paidia
Gaming
What if videogame characters could collaborate with their human counterparts, rather than merely follow their commands? That’s the ambitious question Microsoft Research and Ninja Theory set out to answer with Project Paidia. Launched in August 2020, the project explores how AI and reinforcement learning might allow game designers to foster agent learning that mimics human thinking and behavior. The early results in Ninja Theory’s Bleeding Edge game hint at the huge potential this emerging tech could hold to reshape how humans and game characters interact.
 Doodle Champion Island Games
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Doodle Champion Island Games
Gaming | Asia Pacific
Can videogames unite the globe? The Google team behind this game seems to think so. Intended to celebrate Japanese culture and rally support for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Doodle Champion Island Games is the largest interactive doodle the tech giant has ever made—and a perfect case study for how gaming has infiltrated almost every space and screen available. Players assume the role of Lucky the Ninja Cat (a female, to boot), and navigate through a series of sports games, while encountering figures pulled from Japanese folk tales. Japanese gaming firm Studio4°C collaborated on the project, with the game unveiled in July.