Game on! 5 reasons to be excited about gaming in 2017

(BPT) - With a forecasted value of $82 billion for 2017, video games are hotter than ever. With new technologies, classic characters and interactive worlds that become more lifelike every day, there is plenty to be excited about when it comes to video games in the new year. So whether you're just getting into the hobby or you're a veteran gamer looking to level up, here are the top five things to look for in video gaming in 2017.

* The growth of virtual reality. Virtual reality uses technology to create a completely artificial world for gamers to play in and while most people have heard of virtual reality gaming before, opportunities to experience it will increase in 2017. Existing technology will only continue to grow and develop in the next year, providing gamers with more options. In 2016, most virtual reality systems for PC were quite expensive. Moving into the holiday season and 2017 however, consumers can own a virtual reality-ready PC for under $500.

* Improved desktop options. On the tail of virtual reality's popularity, Microsoft and their partners are unveiling several new Windows 10 personal computers up to the task. The ASUS ROG 752VL will carry updated specs in 2017, and it's already virtual reality ready. The same can be said for the CyberPowerPC Syber M Series, which offers the perfect balance between price and performance. Finally, for gamers on the go, the Razer Blade Signature Edition Gaming Laptop lets you take your favorite games with you wherever you're headed in style.

* The revival of augmented reality. While virtual reality seeks to create an entire artificial world digitally, augmented reality brings pieces of digital creation into the real world. The year 2016 was dominated by people traversing parks and paths playing with the power of augmented reality on their phones. While that particular craze has died down, other companies have taken notice. Expect more augmented reality options to appear in 2017 with new missions and popular characters joining the action. All of it will focus on helping people bring their favorite games into the real world through innovative new technology on PCs and mobile devices.

* Increased gaming flexibility. The new year will mark more ways to game on your own terms. Microsoft's Xbox App allows you to edit and share epic gaming moments with your Xbox Live friends and Xbox Play Anywhere makes it possible to purchase any digital game and play it on your Xbox One or your Windows 10 PC. Best of all, there's no messy file transfers because all of your saves, game add-ons and achievements automatically come with you so you won't miss a step.

* Return of classic characters. A great game is often defined by its heroes and some of the most popular characters in gaming will make new appearances in 2017. Gamers will have the opportunity to start a new investigation as Blake Langermann in Outlast 2, go to war as a heroic Spartan in Halo Wars 2 or join the kids of South Park in South Park The Fractured But Whole. Whichever you choose, you're sure to have a great time with some old friends.

The year 2017 is a great year to be a gamer. The games are better than ever and new technology is making for a streamlined experience where you can game when you want, where you want. So don't delay, pick up your control and play today because the 2017 games will be here soon, and you don't have time to hit the pause button. To learn more about Xbox games and Windows 10 devices, visit your nearest Microsoft Store, microsoftstore.com or a partner retailer.


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