Over at Play Think Learn Nicola Whitton has described a good set of 5 major innovations in gamin we have seen this past decade. I was going to do a retrospective post, but Nicola’s one pretty much covers it so check it out.
Interaction, Casual, Mobile/AR,ARG and MMORPG growth feature.
I could add one that surprises some people. The move away from the pursuit of more and more “realistic” graphics at all costs.
Many people who are new to games or are suddenly taking note will start with the assumption that we need more and more photo realism and that if its not high end visuals its not a game. In part this is because the non gamers can relate to photo realism as being somewhat more understandable. There is of course room and need for these highly “real” visual games, Gran Turismo, Forza 2, Assassins Creed 2 etc. However the sideswipe the Wii made and the rise of the casual puzzle game (as you point out) thrive on not being highly rendered. For gamers The Legend Of Zelda:Wind Waker going cell shaded could be said to have tipped this trend (around 2002). So great gameplay and engagement through simpler visuals with Crayon, Toribash, Loco Roco etc has been a feature of games evolution. Then of course there are the hybrids such as the fantastic Little Big Planet whose design ethos was to look like real things but handmade from craft material and junk.
Of course Play,Think Learn had already written about this with Just My Imagination but I thought it should be in the list of the decade too 🙂
It may seem a bit of a long shot to look forward to the next 10 years but what the heck!
1. Keep Walking. Obviously the big one to consider is what used to be called mobile. Everything is mobile now. We already have relatively easy access to 3g and wi-fi to allowed our technology to be untethered. Of course this needs to be wrestled away from the anti-competitive telecoms companies. The thing stifling growth is the wayward charging mechanisms. Cross country boundary charges and tariffs will be forced to change, either by regulation or by a new entrant into the market that is not a handset provider. It may be more schemes like the BT FON emerge. With that you opt into a scheme to share your home wireless with passers by who also opt in to share their home wireless. It creates a huge ad hoc network. Just imagine too if a generation of devices are made that not only receive but also transmit and act as wireless hubs.(The already exist BTW!) If the pricing model is an opt in to share you wireless access wherever you are and you get paid for encouraging others to use you mobile hotspot (as they encourages new users to access their applications) then we may see a game changer in personal comms.
2. Batteries. This has to get sorted out in the next decade. Our devices demand more and more, and we rely on them for longer so we need a sustainable and revolutionary power transmission or battery device.
3. 3d Printing. 10 years should be enough for this to become “mainstream” as by then the transmission of 3d content and design with the associated rules and regulations, kite marks, certifications etc will start to be in place. Why move goods all over the planet when you can make them locally? It really is a no brainer.
4. Games as work. Eventually enough of us will have been through the corporate mill, will also have spent a large portion of our life entertaining ourselves with World Of Warcraft and Modern Warfare 2 and even Farmville to work out that there is no reason for us as humans to druge along doing work for the sake of it that is dull and repetitive. Menial tasks can be enhanced for very little cost into levelling up entertaining, morale lifting and thought provoking activities. Work and business is a Role playing game (I have pointed this out before back on Terra Nova). Donald Trump says he is not interested in money but it helps to use it to keep score. (I guess I need to alter the game I play 😉 ). This will of course become a lot easier to do as services in the enterprise are exposed and instrumented then rendered and represented in more meaningful ways in environments like Second Life Enterprise. As with all forms of human communication some people will evolve and flourish learning to entertain and inform, to persuade and motivate using all the online tools and presence that we are able to engage with today.
5. Brands crossing digital borders. Engagement with people where they happen to want to be online and offline will have to increase. It will not be enough, as back in the early web to just leave you website lying around to be found. Business has to become a travelling exhibit, a movable market stall that can be adjusted and placed wherever people are or want to be. Digitally distance knows no bounds, but you need more than a sign post or banner ad. Active guides, persuaders, dare I say salespeople? Maybe I am referring to my evangelist brethren though? People who know the territory, have experience and speak the language working for companies, not just as a a sideline that the company takes for granted.
6. Collectives vs Corporate. I would really like to see an end to the ridiculous long statements and terms and conditions on digital content. The pages of scrolling and checkbox ticking, the multi country copyright statements on films that you cant skip (particularly kids ones). We should evolve a fair wait of policing copyright, of acknowledging the origins of an idea. I am fairly certain this charge will be led as more of us become distributed and work more as collectives online. Of course this will be cyclic as those collectives will evolve into the corporate entities we have again today but the re-arrangement will start to occur first over the next decade.
7. Renaissance – Access for All. Projects such as one laptop per child and local country initiatives to enable connectivity really are essential. We have a divided society where many of us are the monks with our illuminated apple logos enabling us to connect with the world. We have an increasing number of people who are just learning to decipher the history of our writings, but are now starting to not need to hear us read it out load, but to write their own digital histories and more importantly their future. We have a few naysayers that are worried that if everyone has access to this the world will end as we know it. I mean…. people communicating with one another and understanding one another’s cultures, ideas and needs without being brokered by a ruling class, whatever next! With a rise in education powered in part by digital inclusion at a global level I expect to see some huge innovations, upheavals and positive outcomes over the next 10 years. Putting the tech in the hands of people, but just as a tool to use however suits them, not just for the sake of a cool gadget is going to cause this generational renaissance.
So there we are a lucky 7. Happy new year and happy new decade everyone