Here's What the Near Future of Video Games Looks Like

GPU maker Nvidia showed off its new line of RTX graphics cards with trailers for upcoming games that made use of real-time ray tracing technology.

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Aug 20 2018, 7:30pm

Screengrab: YouTube

When graphics card manufacturer Nvidia announced it had cracked real-time ray tracing back in March, it seemed as if the fancy new technology was still decades away from the consumer market. Then, Nvidia showed off the advanced graphics tech—which creates photo-realistic lighting and renders cinematic-quality images in real time—by running a 3D Star Wars skit on a $60,000 supercomputer.

Today at Gamescom, Nvidia announced it was bringing this tech to its newest line of consumer-grade video cards—the GeForce RTX 2000 series, which will launch in September. The cheapest version of the card, the GeForce RTX 2070, will cost $499 USD, while the higher-end RTX 2080 Ti Founder’s edition will cost $1,199. To show off what the new cards and real-time ray tracing can do, Nvidia released a bunch of video game trailers that take advantage of both.

Battlefield V’s RTX video was just under a minute long, but composed entirely of in-game footage that’s unlike anything we’ve seen so far. A fireball consumed a soldier, and the entire grisly scene was reflected in the chrome body of a car, the shimmering water of a puddle, and the horrified eye of an observer. Video games have been able to render reflections on surfaces like this for a few years, but not in such great detail.

Nvidia also showcased the upcoming Shadow of the Tomb Raider using RTX cards and showed off impressive real-time lighting generated from multiple sources in a complex party scene. The Tomb Raider trailer is a great rundown of all the fancy new things Nvidia’s new cards can do, from realistic shadow fall off to enhanced tessellation, a technology that allows for more realistic-looking textures.

The last game that Nvidia showed was Metro Exodus in a trailer that focused on the lighting effects that perfectly capture the horror of wandering through an irradiated Russian forest while hiding from mutants.

Nvidia’s new cards will come out in September and, since the company is now expecting zero revenue from cryptocurrency miners in the future, gamers can expect to get them in their sweaty, mice-clutching hands before the rest. After all, “gamers come first.”

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