Is Virtual Photography an Art Form?

With video game photography becoming more and more popular, we contemplate whether or not it is its own art form.

With the rise of social media and the visuals in video games becoming more and more beautiful by the day, how could one not want to snap a few pictures while gaming? With video games, we can explore different worlds, be a cowboy, a pirate, go back in the time or venture forward in time. The possibilities are endless. We make memories in these games with people that we meet on a virtual battlefield who over time grow to become our family. So, it is natural that we’d want to cement those memories and what better way to capture a moment than with a picture?


I never really posted many video game snaps on social media until I played Assassin’s Creed: Origins. It wasn’t the first game I had played that contained a photo mode but it was the first time I had dabbled with the feature. I soon found out that there was an entire community of people on Instagram posting their shots from the game, which looked like real-life photographs that were professionally planned.

I mean, how often can a photographer take a picture of an assassin performing an air assassination on some unsuspecting fool from the comfort of their own living room?

And so, I started following the hashtags and seeing the adventures of other players who were sharing them in visual form. That’s where my love of virtual photography started. Sure, I took pictures in other games before. I took a ton of pictures in GTA V on my Xbox 360, but I never really did anything with them besides show my friends. But now, I’m sharing my pictures with the world and through them, making new friends along the way.


Whether a game has a dedicated photo mode or not, people are taking photos and sharing them with the world. Developers like Ubisoft and Hello Games, among many others, have obviously noticed the niche, and, in turn, have started encouraging players to snap as many in-game photos as they can. It is safe to say that some of them look absolutely breath taking!


It’s no surprise that so many developers have begun to give players an old fashioned camera. From a business point of view, the more people post and talk about your product on social media, the more people are exposed to it, which is why so many developers are starting to appeal to the would-be photographers by implementing photo modes.


Personally, I’ve felt that taking photos in the games I play has made me a better photographer in real life and I can’t help but wonder if the gap between photography and virtual photography is quickly closing. With graphics looking more and more realistic nowadays, it’s getting harder to tell what is a real sunset photo and what isn’t. Could we eventually see virtual photography showcased in a gallery?

All I know is that I’ll always be that guy with a camera in a video game.