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00's and 10's: Looking Back/Looking Forward Pt. 2

No one has a perfect crystal ball view of our future as an industry. I think it is helpful to opine what we see coming before it gets here. Maybe also chip in where we would like to direct things, given that opportunity.

Alan Youngblood

December 30, 2009

4 Min Read

Part 2: Looking Forward to the 10's:

I've already covered some trends that have started this decade in my previous post, so I'll try to just put new stuff here.

Gimmicks be gone. The 10's will see less wiggle waggle controls and people dancing like loonies for Natal. Why am I so certain of this? Well, Nintendo has already killed off their core market on the Wii. They're doing fine with the casual market, but the core market drives the industry. Casual players don't care enough about games to influence them in a positive way. The long term business problems of gimmicky fad hardware will hurt companies enough that they reconsider doing them in the future. I would personally like to see a consumer level haptics device (like Novint Falcon) that gains a mainstream appeal. But again, they don't catch on with everyone that they need to (gamers obviously, but less obviously: developers). We as an industry are beginning to hit a wall with technology.

10's will be the decade where technological advances in our industry plateau out. And it won't be because great minds aren't trying hard and working to develop new tech. It will be simply because we are only human. There are many weird facets of the human condition. One is that there is a point at which the average person will not be able to distinguish a benefit from newer technology. And despite the powers of adverts to convince him otherwise, average Joe still doesn't think it's worth his time or money. This is not a bad thing though...it simply means we have to improve by better games, better design than before. Instead of “Ooooo, Shiny in hi def stereoscopic 3d!” we will for once, get substance.

In contrast to the last two points I want to say that it's possible, and I would love to see, augmented reality games happen. But again, it depends more on adverts and the general public's interest.

Something exciting and new for society in the 10's will be people who grew up on games having kids. While it is a bit of a personal intrigue, it's also of interest to our industry. Why? Simply put this may be the first time that whole families play games together as a norm, not a rare case. There's a lot of implications here. Maybe gamer parents will be cool with their kids playing games and realize that the games aren't evil. Maybe they will remember things the games they played growing up and will shelter their kids from it. No matter what, society will understand games better, which means it will make better decisions involving games(censorship, industry tax breaks to name a couple).

Don't call it 'Edutainment.' In the 10's serious games will seriously start having big effects. Older generations continue to have struggles reaching the media saturated younger generations. A vehicle for this will certainly be games. At school, at work, where ever, games are going to be used more for communication. Also serious games outside of education will likely see growing use in non-education, non-military places like business management.

The Games Industry as a whole is poised to be a growth market in US in the 10's. US's current economy and job market is crap. It won't stay this way all of the next decade. Jobs must be created and sustained. Manufacturing in the States is history. Service sector is predicted to grow. When politicians wise up, they will make laws that help game industry businesses. In turn, many great desirable well paying white collar jobs will be created.

People will get tired of paying $60 a pop for games. Prices must drop, Kotick's quote of wanting to raise the price will be proven utterly wrong. People just won't be able to spend $60 on a game when the opportunity cost is heating, food, or rent.

Console life cycles will be extended. Call it geriatric care for old consoles, but don't treat it like that. In the 10's we will see consoles supported for longer because what I mentioned earlier about the human limitations of pushing hardware forward so fast. What this means is that the geriatric consoles won't be bedridden...but full of great experiences and ready to party it up like never before. It's an old trend: end of cycle games are amazing. Why? Because the developers make a game instead of reinventing the tech wheel or trying to understand the tech wheel in order to use it.


Got your own ideas? Have a better crystal ball view than me? Want to sound off on my crazy opinions? Feel free to do it below in the comments, I'd like to hear what other people think about the next decade.

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