What will games look like in 2050?

Part of Topic 1: The Future of Gaming series…

Good evening. Pretty typical Saturday night here for MountFire: A glass of sweet tea, some Adrian Von Ziegler in the background, meandering Skyrim, and now…blogging. That last one is new to me. We’ll see how this goes.

This is my first blog in what I hope to be a series of intelligently insightful opinions and thoughts on video games, and games in general. This is not particularly a “review” site, although I may occasionally add in my 2 cents, but it is actually targeted to get people really thinking and discussing about broader topics in the gaming world – i.e. the future of games, or what makes a game “good”, or even how do you define a “game”? I, the author, AKA “MountFire,” am a professional writer and editor, and indie game developer. Welcome to GameFire.

So, the question I’m focusing on in this post is actually something brought up in a recent Steam conversation: “What will games look like by the year 2050? What does the future hold for games?” (Btw, if you have a question you’d like to ask me and have featured on my site, send me a message!)

Well, if you’ve been to any recent PAX, I think the answer to this is pretty clear: Virtual Reality. Even if VR is still in its clunky beginnings (I think of it as an infant just learning how to walk), it paves a future for video games the general population has yet to really grasp, but the transformation, I believe, will happen soon. Probably even in the next 5-10 years.

When you think about the history of video games, how the gaming industry began with 2D platformers and pixelated arcade levels, and has evolved now to 3D RPG world exploration and full digital rendering of objects on the screen, we are beginning to see the evolution away from the flat screen. Game designers will continue to create things that go beyond the experience of just watching something unfold on the screen, instead an experience that involves the entirety of the player, not just their fingers.

Now, it’s important to also reconcile that a lot can happen in the next 32 years, and a lot will happen, in regards to technology advancement. This will be the key in the evolution and metamorphosis of VR gaming. Currently, technology is on an exponential curve of innovation and progression—each year seems to explode with “new.” Think about what we have created in the last 32 years (that was 1986, my friends—crazy, right?), and apply that with the exponential multitude for the next 3 decades. I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to say that we will likely be living in a whole new era of technology and communication.

With that being said, I also want to make the speculation that the way we are experiencing VR right now is also only in its very beginning stages. By the year 2050, I sincerely believe that there will be holographic interaction in games. Think of that scene in Her. (Now, I’m not saying that Her was entirely accurate…just putting out there that I don’t think this movie is completely far-fetched either in its portrayal of near-future life.) Check out that scene I’m talking about here!

For us, this seems laughably impossible, but come 30 years from now, it will be normal. I think 30 years ago the thought of a “touchscreen smartphone” seemed laughably impossible, too.

So, once VR is able to ditch the giant goggles and instead have holograms we can interact with our bodies, and through which in-game characters can interact with us, it will be much more appealing. (Let’s be honest: I, too, giggle at imagining how sex scenes in future VR games would play out.) After that, the industry will explode and won’t look back. Yes, there will be nostalgia in regards to the “old school” RPGs and such—just like how we love to go back and play Link to the Past or FFIV—but the future belongs to VR. In the same way that “flip-phones” and MySpace falls out of style, so will the console and PC games that we are so familiar with. There will be no need for controllers or mice or keyboards. Ditch the screen, too.

A part of me is also wondering if I’m even underestimating the next 30 years. There might be something that I’m missing, something more significant that might happen, but seeing as I don’t exactly have a crystal ball, this is my best guess.

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