The Future of Gaming: Minimal, Portable, and in the CloudMarch 30th, 2011
Minimalists are famous for purging everything from their lives that keeps them from being super-productive machines. But I know that I’m not the only minimalist gamer around, so I figured there must be more of us out there-hiding our SNES collection and keeping secret HDTVs for Xbox 360s. If gaming brings you joy, there is no reason it can’t be apart of your life!
The future of video gaming looks a lot different from the current market. Apple has opened up gaming to a huge population of mobile gamers; from casual to core, you can find it on the AppStore. If there’s one thing that iOS devices have taught us, it’s that digital downloads can work as a distribution system. And this past generation has seen Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo take a stab at digital distribution.
The future of video gaming is minimal.
No one wants their living room full of plastic instruments, controllers, peripherals, and WIRES. The future of gaming has no need for such things either. In the future, your body is the controller, and we’ve seen the start of that future already. Accelerometers are built in to most current generation gaming platforms and cellphones. Microsoft’s Kinect has enjoyed incredible sales and adoption rate. But besides a cool dancing game or two, indie developers and programmers have discovered ways to use the Kinect sensor bar to do incredible things. Just search ‘Kinect hacks’ on Google or Youtube. This technology is going to carry over to fields besides gaming.
The future of video gaming is portable.
We’re reaching a point where hardware power and graphics don’t matter anymore. You are now able to enjoy the ‘console experience’ on your iPhone. Look at Infinity Blade or Dead Space-portable gaming is toeing the line of traditional consoles. Nintendo has just released the 3DS, which seems to have the graphical capabilities similar to the Gamecube or even Wii. Sony is working on their NGP (“Next Generation Portable”) which claims to deliver the PS3 experience in the palm of your hand. Consoles are clunky, take up lots of room, use lots of energy, and tie us to our couches. I foresee an all-portable future.
Bear with me on this one. Imagine NGP actually stood for “Next Generation Playstation”. What if the NGP was the PS4? Imagine leveling your RPG character on the train, and then coming home and docking your handheld and continuing play on your TV. I don’t think that future is too far off base. The original PSP had the ability to be played on an external screen. What if Sony has realized this trend toward mobile gaming and is trying to corner the market early? This could be the gimmick that fuels competition in the next generation, as motion control was to this generation. I look forward to the day when I can play the latest Call of Duty or Final Fantasy on my handheld and then come home, plug into my TV, and not notice a difference in the experience while playing on the same handheld device.
The future of video gaming is in the cloud.
I feel like this one is self-explanatory. Physical media is dying or dead, the future lies in the cloud network. Gamers have slowly learned to trust services like Steam, PSN, XBLA, Wiishop and the AppStore. Soon, that will be how we will expect to receive our games. You’ll never be without your library of games. And not only game downloads, but saves too. Your save files will be stored in the cloud, and you’ll never have to worry about corruption or loss due to hardware failure because their backups will have backups. This is the end of memory card juggling.
For this future to be realized, broadband access needs to be more ubiquitous. There are still vast regions of the US that rely on *gasp!* dial-up. Perhaps we will see an interim period of physical releases at marked-up prices to promote digital downloads. Or maybe if you don’t have high-speed internet access at your house, you could make a trip to the store and get the latest download beamed to your device (or transferred via some version of SD card/USB).
The future of gaming is a minimalist/gadget lover’s dream. I can’t be the only person who sees these trends developing. Do you agree with me? Lament the loss of cartridges? Tell me about it in the comments or via Twitter.
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