Following up on my previous post in which I looked back thirty years into the gaming past, for this post I thought I’d look forward thirty years to answer the very opinionated and speculative question: “What will video games be like in 2033?” And rather than think all fantasy and pie-in-the-sky as they did with prognosticating in the 1950s, this will be a more practical, less fantastical approach — mainly because I’m cynical and bad at making stuff up, and, probably, because I’m angry that I’m going to be really old in 2033. Anyway…indulge me as I set aside my sardonic tendencies and take a brief look at what’s possibly in store for video games.
- Gaming will be integrated into our lives at home and on-the-go.
In 2033, physical consoles and discs will be a thing of the past. Gaming will be digital and its modules and applications will be integrated into television sets (or whatever relays visual information in 2033). Playing a game will be as easy as picking an app from the TV. Our games will reside alongside our Hulu and Netflix queues and be as acceptable and routine as our TV programs and movies are now as a source of entertainment. Motion gaming will be fairly routine throughout most games, but you’ll still be able to plug in you trusty controllers. And you’ll be able to take your gaming outside and into worlds of augmented and virtual reality. Of course, you’ll need a little more equipment for that, which brings up point two…
- Peripheral, peripherals, peripherals.
There will be no shortage of cool (and probably less than cool) gaming peripherals in 2033. Phones and tablets will still be around for textual communication, but they’ll be linked to virtual headsets with head-ups displays, which will be linked to your games. These commonplace devices will offer gamers access to their games like never before. Bored on the hoverbus? No problem! Just flip down your headset, open that game you started this morning, and begin playing! And since we’ll be playing in virtual reality, those headsets will have integrated rumble paks, so when an unseen enemy hits you on the head from behind, the sensors will go off. You’ll feel the rumble and can address the situation accordingly. You’ll having gaming shoes equipped with sensors that affect walking and running speeds within a game, and clothing with similar sensors that trigger different physical reactions depending on your environment. Sure, you won’t always need all peripherals, but you’ll want to keep you headset handy because not only will it allow constant access to your games, it’ll give you access to your gaming friends as well, which brings us to point three…
- All gaming will be social and mobile.
Don’t fret all you single-player fans, that experience will never die. But in 2033, games will no longer be classified as “social” or “mobile” as all games will be social and mobile. In the same way we currently receive text message on our phones, you’ll be able to receive game updates and player invites through your heads-up display. Not only will you be notified if there’s new DLC or a patch to download, but you’ll also received word instantly whenever you reach an achievement in a game, even in games you’re not currently playing. You’ll be able to see which of your friends are online and what games they’re playing. Join the game, send a message, or sit back and watch live video from their games. Persistent play will allow for complete and total access to your games in any situation. No waiting for a game to load and no more hassling around with updates. Your games will be fully ready to play when you are!
There’s plenty more discuss and debate (like the cost of all this fun), but my thoughts here boil down to acceptance, integration, and persistence. Those are the three things I see (or hope to see) happening in gaming in thirty years. Games will be accessible anytime, anywhere. Gone will be the labels the industry applies to us (and gamers apply to themselves). Games will be fully woven into the fabric of our society, and gamers will be you, me, and everyone. Hmm…maybe I’m no so cynical after all? But this is just what I think. What do you think video games will be like in 2033?