Talking about the future of games, you can refer to both the near and the distant future. In the first case, we carefully peer into the present day, discovering trends and “speaking examples.” In the second case, one has to build speculative hypotheses, more or less convincing in their internal logic and argumentation. Both approaches are related since a theory cannot be deduced without empiricism, and trends cannot be fixed without a certain amount of theoretical paranoia.
The main reason that affects the development trends of games soon is the close interweaving of two factors – a change in the sociology of the gamer and the development of technologies applicable to games.
Games in Other Entertainment Areas
The trend is more than old (and even ancient by the standards of computer games) – this is the widespread use of the same game form in other areas. In its most obvious form, this is the blurring of the boundaries of games and their hybridization with different types of cultures through the use of interactivity. Travel games, research games, narrative games (including interactive drama), educational games, flash jokes, and video comics with interactivity elements appear.
Games are used as part of an advertising campaign, as an argument against or for something, as an effective critique of political and social phenomena, or even as aggressive defamation of persons and institutions. On the more distant periphery, there is an interpenetration of gaming, computer technologies, and cinema. The use of real actors and motion capture technology made the emotions of the game characters vivid and convincing. And the plots from the games are increasingly migrated to film adaptation. The influence of games on design is also obvious; for example:
- interface aesthetics
- character design
- musical arrangement
- creating new trends
- collaboration of fashion houses and gaming universes
Unreality in Reality as Game Modeling
About 7-8 years ago, most game designers were sure that the user needed “to be like in life.” For this reason, game engines have been so often discussed that they were described almost as the main condition for the success/failure of the game. However, the success of stylized games (e.g., Machinarium, Borderlands, hundreds of fantasy games, etc.) suggested that this was often not the case. The artistic universe of the game is like a special world different from ours, so such a gaming experience is sometimes valuable. Therefore, games that mimic graphics, comics, rotoscoped cartoons, etc. lately have more chances of success, especially considering the ratio of investments/dividends (after all, a high level of graphics is long, expensive, and demanding on hardware).
Speaking of PC games, we should not forget that there is one new 3D mobile game that regularly gains popularity every half a year, the visuals of which are not inferior to releases on PC and consoles. Hero models, game-level design, interface, and other visual aspects are now given a lot of time and money during the game’s development. Even big studios use services like outsourced 3d rendering, 3D modeling for games, 3D art creation, etc.
Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding
It is logical to assume that crowdsourcing and crowdfunding will continue to impact the games industry in the coming years. In the narrow sense, crowdsourcing is an open collective discussion of ways to solve a technical or other problem. In a broad sense, the existence of an extensive discussion of various nuances of games allows game developers to navigate user requests, draw new ideas and improve game modeling. Both are a kind of “brainstorming” that will enable you to increase the speed of solving various problems by order of magnitude.
The best example of crowdsourcing broadly is CDProject’s work on The Witcher 3. Judging by the many feedback and interviews from the developers, they considered hundreds, if not thousands, of the wishes of their fans. In a narrow sense, crowdsourcing is still more often used in business and science, but with the development of independent game projects, I think it will also be in demand in games. As for funding “by the whole world,” this topic arose largely due to the noticeable dissatisfaction of the players. Of course, there can be many examples of such game studios as CDProject, but The Witcher 3 will fit perfectly.
The dream that former gamers would go into business and start making great games didn’t materialize. But the opportunity to support the developer you trust with money has gradually crystallized. Each gaming platform has its style and audience, encouraging developers to create the desired projects.
New Gaming Features
Develop controllers (guitar, Wii Fit pads, Wii Remote sensors, Kinect, Virtuix Omni, etc.) and augmented reality tools (Google Glass, Sixthsense, Emotiv EPOC, etc.) that are changing the nature of the game. For example, the stereotype of gaming as being associated with a sedentary and inactive lifestyle is no longer universal. True, so far, a significant part of new gadgets for games is just promises or expensive extravagances that have little effect on the nature of the game.
The well-known Oculus Rift has still not solved purely technical problems: due to the low resolution and low refresh rate during sharp turns, few people can withstand them for more than an hour or two. Attempts to create a complete virtual reality suit are far from over today, let alone solve the high price problem. Still, in the future, all the desired things from cyberpunk works will easily be embodied from the gaming metaverse into reality, thanks to new technologies.
About the Future of Gaming
Together with the development of the technical component of the game industry, these prospects form many other trends or conditions for future major changes and growth of game development, digital assets, or game modeling. It will not be surprising that some of what we have described in the article will already be actively developed next week or earlier. Who knows what’s in store for us in the future, but gaming will grow even faster as the younger generation gets the best content and truly great releases.