If we look back 15 years at how gaming was, you’d be a fool to not notice huge differences. The sheer scale of gaming and how it is played, let alone the visuals and game play, have come so far in such a short time. It certainly makes one feel old, fast.
It’s true that everything is changing at a rapid pace. 15 years ago your bag was filled with a flip phone, an MP3 player, a digital camera and if you were rich, a laptop. Now it all never leaves your hand and is so much more. Video stores existed. The best casino bonuses Canada has to offer are now available online, but back then you had to go to the casino!
And if we think a lot changed in the last 15 years, then just try to fathom what will be in the next 15. One thing’s for sure, it will change faster than we even think it will, but what can we expect post 2030?
The Brains Behind the Change
Let’s start by who will be behind all these changes, todays youth. A generation that has had gaming at their fingertips since they could walk. Our generation had the TV to babysit us, but they had the iPad and know no different. So, what does that mean?
It means that gaming is second nature to the future developers who never wanted to be firemen or police officers growing up; their heroes are YouTubers and gamers. To us, they don’t live in the real world, and that’s the point. It is us that isn’t in touch with the reality that is coming. An entire generation that has been gaming for hours a day, has always wanted to be a gamer and who’s heroes are gamers; just imagine what they will create!
The artists behind the graphics are gamers. The engineers behind the hardware are gamers. Even the marketing executives who will advertise the games are, you guessed it, gamers. Since they could walk. It’s incredibly exciting.
Hardware or Cloud-ware?
The biggest change we will see without a doubt will be the hardware, and we don’t envision it evolving as much as disappearing. Imagine a future where the great minds behind the PlayStation, Xbox and PCs are no longer battling it out to out-do one another. No more secret edges to put their product ahead. Instead, they are all working together, sharing, bouncing ideas and co-operating towards one goal; a more efficient digital centre that all games come from.
Cloud gaming will not only see the elimination of bulky and expensive hardware from players living rooms, but it will free up valuable time and money for the big guys to invest in the games instead. And if players no longer need to invest in such hardware, they will be willing to invest their hard-earned coin into that cloud, too. Faster, stronger internet platforms will see the ability to stream games rather than download or buy them. It was the same for Netflix and Hulu, who are now the new cinema and TV.
Also, the merging of PCs and mobile will be unheard of by then. Just as 15 years ago saw one device replace three others, mobile technology will certainly see mobile devices that are more powerful than today’s PC. So, maybe not just the elimination of gaming hardware but also computing, too?
And if that’s the case, where could it stop? The only hardware left would be your visual; the screen. Certainly they’ve come in leaps and bounds too over the years so why wouldn’t they either be completely flexible, like a roller blind, or gone altogether, like a projector.
Tomorrow’s hardware will be one small box. It will be your streaming device and projector in one. All one will need is either an empty wall to project, or perhaps just the space for the hologram to enter? Now we’re getting somewhere. Or will it finally be the decade where a wearable is invented that people are happy to wear; we want our smart contact lens, and we want it now! As that is our future of VR.
What we will be Playing
The idea of us controlling a character in a game will be gone; we will be both the character and the controller. AI and VR are still no where near ready for mainstream, but they are so much closer than they were just 12 months ago. So, we’ll be able to enter a game where direct communication with the other players is possible, with our avatars. But it will be one where other characters are AI inspired to the point where they will remember us, remember the choices we made earlier and possibly know how we like to play.
Machine learning is a huge part of all of our future lives and certainly that technology will be heavily involved in gaming. But it will be successful because it will help create more social gaming for players, rather than replace it. Already, the more popular games around have that social interaction embedded in them; we’re still humans and it’s still built into our DNA.
It’s for that same reason that storylines will continue to pull at our heartstrings. Our games will make us care, suck us in and have us forgetting we’re not really part of it. People still watch movies for that same reason; the escapism. And there perhaps lies the future of gaming; it will no longer be gaming. It will be media-entertainment. It will be the merging of our movies and media into our gaming platforms to offer one, huge, evolving source of entertainment that we can control as we please.
The real test will be that cooperation, though. That production line thinking that will see all the different components involved in creating a truly great game, all specialised and individually working towards a common goal; better gaming.