WDYT? 3/19: What is the Future of Gaming?

I’m not much of a gamer – right now. I like the idea of video games, and I randomly follow industry news and trends, but I’m busy making a living. When I retire instead of taking cruises and going to camper conventions, I’m going to be gaming.

Recently I had a horrible dream where I was finally retired, and I wanted to play a game like Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2, only I couldn’t find any games like it anywhere. I couldn’t find any video games as I knew them anywhere at all.

This made me wonder – what is the future of gaming?

Assumption # 1: Cross-Platform Gaming might be a thing

One way to predict the future is to identify the current trends that are most likely to gain more momentum as the years pass.

Fortnite has been a huge success. It’s one of the rare games that has become a pop-culture icon. Almost everyone has heard of Fortnite, even if they never play video games. There are two reasons Fortnite has had such an enormous cultural impact.

One, it’s free to play. There is no barrier to entry. Epic Games, the publisher of Fortnite, make money on in-app purchases. This is a powerful business model that has powered mobile games for years.

The second reason so many people play Fortnite is that it is one of the first cross-platform games where everyone plays in the same world. You can play against your three friends while you’re on their phone, one of them is one a Nintendo Switch, and the other two are on a PC.

In the future, almost all games will be cross-platform. There will be too many ways for people to play games for publishers to make their games exclusive to certain hardware or corporate ecosystems.

Assumption # 2: Role of VR and AR might (still) not be a big thing

Virtual reality and augmented reality (VR and AR) have been getting a lot of serious attention from investors and game enthusiasts. But, the future of gaming isn’t going to a Ready Player One – type landscape.

VR and AR will be more widespread, but they will still be a niche product. Hardcore gamers may love the intensive worlds of VR and AR, but many people will prefer not to wear extra gear when playing their games.

Assumption # 3: Increased Game Personalization

Perhaps the most important trend for the future of video games will be how much more personalized the gaming experience will be. Rapid improvements in AI and machine learning will allow video game designers, writers, and publishers to create games that deliver a unique, custom experience to players. Your choices will change the game in meaningful ways.

Assumption # 4: Games will be much more open-ended and fluid.

Just like the ads you see online are targeted specifically to you based on your browser history, video games in the future will be able to use your personal data to improve your gaming experience.

“Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.” Yoda reminds us.

Video games will continue to evolve. But, they will not disappear. Video games have become a core pillar of our entertainment culture. The movies of today are completely different from the movies of the 1930s, but they are still recognizable as the same art form.

And, what do you think?

The video games of the next five, ten, and twenty-five years will be vastly different from what we are playing today. But, they will still easily be recognizable as video games.

I can’t wait to see what the future of gaming holds. WDYT?