the artistry and psychology of gaming

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Introduction to the Future of Gaming

Introduction to the Future of Gaming

About three months ago, I made a bet with a labmate of mine. Just a small bet, one dollar, but a symbolic bet. The bet:

In 15 years, you will not have a video game console in your house.

Now, it’s not a bet that in 15 years, he would grow out of gaming. We’re in our mid 20s and working on doctorates — if we haven’t outgrown gaming by now, we’re never going to. No, this is a bet over the way in which the video game industry is growing and evolving; the way different technologies are emerging that are destined to grow together and create for us a future for the gaming industry that is very different than the industry of today.

This is not just a technological revolution, however. It’s also a cultural one. Games, gaming, and who exactly is a ‘gamer’ are all changing. We’ve seen it happening, with the iPhone continuing what the Wii started in bring gaming back to the masses. We’ve seen the business changing, with independent developers putting out brilliantly innovative games at a mere fraction of the budget of their big-name counterparts. The cultural revolution is enabled by the technology, and in turn, the cultural revolution incentivizes further technological improvements.

Take Angry Birds, for example. It isn’t tracked by sales sites like VGChartz and IGN, but humble little Angry Birds has quietly put the rest of the gaming industry to shame. With a budget of $100,000, this little iPhone puzzle game is the single best-selling game of all time. You don’t hear much about that, do you? All we’ve heard recently is about how Wii Sports had dethroned Super Mario Bros. as the best-selling game of all time, but meanwhile Angry Birds was putting those games to shame.

This isn’t just about the casual gaming revolutionized facilitated by the iPhone and Wii, though. This goes much further. OnLive, hyped by some as the console killer (and mocked by others for failing to deliver on that promise) really is the future that it promised to be: maybe not under that brand name and maybe not in its current form, but in a world where everything is moving up into the almighty cloud, it’s only a matter of time before the paradigm that OnLive announced takes hold. But the iPhone and OnLive can never mimic the full-screen heavily multimedia experience that is modern gaming, can they? We’ll explore that question as this series goes on.

The objective of this series is to look at how new and emerging technologies and shifts to the gaming cultural landscape will manifest in significant change for the gaming industry in the future. We’ll start by looking at the iPhone and OnLive and how they play into the emerging new landscape, then talk about how a certain understated new technology has the potential to be the ultimate lynchpin in these new developments. From there, we’ll look at how these various trends will merge to form a future form of gaming, both remarkably similar and remarkably different from the gaming of today. Finally, we’ll take a week and look beyond gaming, to how these very same revolutions will change the home electronics industry as a whole. And after that, this series will devolve a bit more into an irregular feature to examine new technologies and changes as they emerge.

Next week, we’ll get started with the iPhone.

(Image credit to Steve Johnson.)
(Also seen on DDJGames.)

One Comment

  1. Looking forward to following the series and indeed the website itself. the unique perspectives your academic background will allow should be particulary interesting.

    in regards to cloud based gaming I agree it’s where gaming is going but I suspect I’m in the minority by not being happy about it. I consider myself a collector of the games I play and a future where that won’t exist and everything is either streamed or downloaded I find quite depressing.
    With that said I realise I probably sound like the music lovers that were left broken hearted by the sharp decline of vinyl records.

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