Monday, 06 December 2010
It’s time to turn an eye to future. This medium has come extremely far in the short time it has been around, but the hardest road is yet to come. Video games are a part of our culture, almost everyone is playing, from hardcore shooter fans, to RPG enthusiasts, to your grandma and grandpa who like to play Wii tennis on the holidays. So what does this mean for the future?
Well first off I should say that causal gaming is a GOOD THING. Look at it as a little funny beach-day reading in between analyzing Shakespeare and James Joyce. Not everything has to be hyper serious, not everything has to demand hours and hours of your time. It can just be fun. Anything that gets more people interested in the medium is a very good thing, or it will be when the industry stops pandering to them.
But I’m not really here to speculate on the business aspect of the Gaming industry, I’m not making predictions as to the storyline of Halo 8 or Gears of War 10 (please god let them stop before it goes that far). I’m looking at the medium as a whole, and what the future will bring.
On one side you are going to see increased integration with the real world. Right now we have Facebook expansions and mini games for franchises like Assassin’s Creed and Dragon Age. Soon you are going to see this with almost every game. But it will grow and change. You won’t just go onto Facebook and win a different color shoelace for Ezio, you’ll be sent on real world quests.
Imagine taking a trip to D.C. while playing Fallout 3. You run around the Capital Wastelands for hours on end, but now you are in the real city. It’s fun and cool for the history and culture, but imagine you go to the Washington monument. Your standing there, looking up at it and suddenly your phone dings. You have a text message that reads, “Visit the Washington Monument for a special quest and item.” Suddenly the act of real world exploration and in game exploration are combined and you are rewarded for getting out into the real world.
Now of course there will be down sides to this. At some point Activision will sign a deal with Starbucks so that everytime you walk into a Starbucks you unlock something useless for Guitar Hero. It will be about advertising revenues and not immersion. But think of what Valve, Bethesda, or Lion Head could do with something like this.
I would have liked to go into how games can be validated as an art form and some of the steps we have to start taking to get to that point, but I don’t want to over load this post. Let me end with something very smart that I heard the other day. We have to move past the idea that what we play, make, talk about, blog about, and in some cases obsess over, are toys. Games have moved beyond being “Games”. Lose a crewmember at the end of Mass Effect 2 and tell me that you have felt that heartbroken from a game of Jenga.
We have an opportunity here. An opportunity to help this medium grow in ways hitherto unimaginable. But it won’t be easy. We need to stop perpetuating stereotypes, we need to stop being ignorant racist morons on Xbox Live, we need to NEVER BUY ANOTHER GAME THAT LISTS “JIGGLE PHYSICS” AS A SELLING POINT. We need to stand up for what we love and what we do and show the rest of the world what games and gamers can do when we put our minds to it.
Where do you think the future of games is headed?