With the rapidly evolving gaming platforms we are seeing games as the center point for entertainment starting to develop in the household. Games no longer are relegated to kids and more adults, women and even grandparents are joining games than ever.
We are seeing the beginnings of immersive gaming where you are the controller, a more limited version of this with Wii Motion Plus and with Sony Move, but Xbox 360 really put you as the controller in the spotlight with the Kinect system.
But the technology is at it’s infancy and ultimately using your body as a controller while facing a television screen between 32” and 60” is still quite limited. Also the Kinect system still has difficulty tracking quick movements as it is only 30 frames per second.
The Near Future
The near future will have a new generation of consoles with much more powerful camera / 3d camera lenses. These will be able to better map 3d space around a user and record movements much more fluidly. This will allow people to perform full speed movements and have them recorded with near perfect accuracy. I also see that the game itself will be able to put virtual weapons into the hands of the character and you will be able to just make the motions with the corresponding weapon equipped responding properly.
Time to reach market: 2-5 years
The Further Future
You all remember the Holodeck from Star Trek: The Next Generation? Well this was the ultimate in recreation/gaming…etc. It basically was a room that could create anything around you including scenery, opponents and objects for you to grasp.
While I don’t think the replication aspect of it will exist, I do see that with foldable AMOLED screens and paintable technology I can see an entire room becoming your television set. We are talking about you turning 3 walls into your game where you can literally pan and your environment spins around you.
Combine this with an advanced motion sensing system like a Kinect 5 and you can see that this will be the closest thing to a Holodeck from Star Trek. Imaging exploring a game like World of Warcraft where the tree’s moved past your walls as you walked in place, and orcs came at you literally from multiple directions and you had to turn your entire body to face them properly.
This technology is almost ready to exist and I predict it will be priceable to the general public eventually.
Time to reach market: 10 – 15 years
Though I still find the keyboard / mouse combo or a gamepad irresistible the next generation of kids will become so fluent and used to motion based technology that they will not consider it a handicap and be more used to making motion based movements to control things in the game space.
Tablet based gaming meanwhile will grow and fill a niche between motion based gaming and will compliment the gamepad as we will see in the Wii-U system for a few years to come.
These are my predictions on the future of gaming and I would love to hear where you think gaming will be headed next.