What is the future of games?

UC Santa Cruz held a little shindig last month called Inventing the Future of Games. Rod Humble and Will Wright were among those that shared their vision for the future and their view of the past (and their keynote videos are up). What do you think is the future of video games? Are we rising to an artform or sinking to appeal to a common denominator?

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face–for ever.”

AKA Call of Duty clones. I HOPE the future of gaming is on the PC with more Valve and indie and strategy. When a game like Pride of Nations sneaks up on me and I read all the dev diaries in an afternoon, I know that there is much to look forward to in my hobby.


My hope would be emergent narrative. As in, a game with a story that is built to react to the player’s actions and change accordingly in meaningful ways. Like Deus Ex on steroids.

I’m pretty sure that this is just a stupid pipedream because it’s so insanely difficult to accomplish, but maybe someday we’ll get someone who’s the right kind of crazy (and smart) who can succeed where so many others have failed.

Steam developing into a full fledged app store - it’s already practically there, in terms of functionality. There’s no technical reason why it couldn’t develop to sell non-game apps too, like iTunes does. The “game future” part of this is more app-store like games on the PC: shorter, more casual, “freemium” games aimed at a broader audience, with an emphasis on connecting with friends ala Facebook games and Open Feint.

3D…new chips will need software that demands new chips.


I HOPE the future of gaming is on the PC with more Valve and indie and strategy.

That’s probably the future of PC gaming, but it’s not the future of gaming as a whole. And frankly I’m glad it’s not. There is room for the AAA blockbusters and the indie masterpieces and everything in between. The future of games is pretty much what movies became: Whatever the hell you want, you can get. Sometimes you have to know where to look, but it’ll be out there.

Small companies will keep making cool stuff, big companies will keep making stuff I can’t afford to buy a machine for, and Will Wright will continue hamming it up on the strength of the 90s while praying that everyone forgets Spore.

On one hand, I see corporations like Activision run franchises like Guitar Hero into the ground by bombarding the market, and I see the same trend with Call of Duty. With ever increasing production costs, I picture the games industry collapsing under the weight of it’s own mediocrity, then rising from the ashes leaner, meaner, and beginning a new gaming renaissance.

On the other hand, I look at Hollywood and the repetitive shit that they produce year after year, and think that that’s probably the way the games industry is going to go. People seem to eat it up (Fast 5 is the top grossing April release of all time?!), so the business folks probably know what they’re doing.

Maybe it’s just me getting older, but for the most part the only games that are really grabbing me in the last few years are the smaller studios. Stuff like Arcen Games’ AI War and A Valley Without Wind, Paradox titles and stuff they’re publishing (Sword of the Stars 2 in particular sounds fantastic). Minecraft, Dwarf Fortress, etc all enthrall me. Next iteration of Call of Duty or whatever? No thanks, I’ve been doing that stuff for over a decade, I don’t feel the need to relive the experience yet again.

Movies, books, visual art, and music manage to do both. I’m pretty sure games will do the same. And as with occasional examples in those other fields, the occasional game will manage to do both at once.

The only general trend I see is the development of tools and the improvement of the craft of making games. What people do with those capabilities will be as variable as people themselves.

^^ All of the above.

No one here have a working glass sphere, so the question is mostly a waste of time.


I dream of a day when we able to hack satellites and play asteroids with real asteroids and real nuclear weapons.
That would kickass. Permadead. No one will touch my high-score.

I hope the future of games includes a major push towards something like Minecraft and Terraria. Games about exploring and building.

Probably see more games launched from the browser that are f2p but with extras you can purchase, like Battlefield F2P. Mainstream PC gaming will be a few AAA-titles, a lot of it console ports, and the rest will be indie-gaming. Online auth and unlocking in terms of DRM also seems to be the future.

What I would like to see in the future is when you can get a full game experience with VR goggles. Imagine playing a MMORPG set in, for instance the Wheel of Time in full 360VR-3D. A good description of it would be one of the first Tom Clancy Netforce books that describes a full VR MMO.

Not for me. Games start adding 3D, I stop playing games.

and things like this: http://dvice.com/archives/2011/05/japanese-invent-1.php

The future will be fully immersive games like the kinect and things of that nature. I could see 3-d battle chess type strategy games (think Chewie vs r2d2 chess game.

@Wahoo; Hopefully we’ll settle for the visual stimuli first. I suppose that ‘feel’ thing that has been appearing for a while could also be included, i.e. in the vr-gloves. Would be nice to feel the sword or other items in the 3D world as you interact with them.

Basically, the future should bring more immersion than current Flat-screens and pixelated GUIs can ever hope to bring.


Don’t worry, I’m a game designer who is 3D-blind. I’m sure there must be others :D

My guess is everything will devolve into sequels and knockoffs of casual games plus poo jokes. This:

is the face of future gaming.

(the reasonably near future and not 999999 years in the future where everything happens in your mind through inception like methods)
[li]Graphics will continue to incrementally improve in order to draw customers[/li][li]gameplay will become less complex in order to target mobile devices and/or more base audiences[/li][li]strategy games will completely die as a mainstream genre, including rts. Indie companies will still make hardcore strategy games and some rare games will still use rts minigames.[/li][li]After nine more iterations, TES will finally have a decent combat system.[/li][li](single player) Rpg as a genre will completely die as a mainstream genre. Again, indie companies will still continue to pump out low budget ones. Almost every mainstream game will include rpg elements such as leveling and buying upgrades in order to push longevity and online stores (real money).[/li][li]Selling items/bonuses for real life money will become common in non mmorpgs that have strong online components. “everyone gets a bulletproof vest, but for just $2.99 you can equip your character with a bulletproof helmet too.”[/li][li]Sony will lose our personal information again.[/li][/ul]