“What’s in store?”, these are three words that can strike both fear and excitement into the heart of any game developer. It’s the delight of getting to experience new technologies and mechanics, and the fear of overstretching your game till it crumples like a deck of cards. Dan Pinchback (Dear Ester), Dan Golding (video game critic), and Guy Gadney (The Project Factory) were happy to attack the question head on and voice their opinions on what they foresee to be the current course of the industry.
A recurring point, which everyone could agree with, was that gaming has considerably evolved over the years and that a large shift has occurred on the devices we play games on; primarily focusing of the shift to mobile gaming. Subsequently, this shift has opened an entirely new universe of challenge and creativity, as well altering the way the general public perceives video games. Overall, everyone on the panel could recognise that mobile gaming was an important direction for the industry and a fantastic gateway to target a new demographic of potential players.
One of the biggest challenges identified with mobile gaming was the fact that you had to provide an engaging and interactive game that could be picked up and played at any point in time without having to invest a lot of time to understand the mechanics of how the game works. This in particular provides a real challenge for mobile game writers must overcome the problem of content delivery, and execution of backstory to players who don’t have the time to absorb vast amounts of information; something which renders the purpose of mobile gaming mute.
Personally, I feel that the direction of the gaming industry is about to get very intrusting. We must take into account the changing trends of technology, and how as an extension of gaming, it will provide new avenues of interactivity. However, at the same time, it’s important to recognise other trends such as the significant rise in crowd funding, which in turn, has allowed for a lot of lower-key game companies to raise the money needed to produce some truly spectacular games. Guy Gadney also recognized that the rise of crowd funding could allow for more equal opportunity to produce “AAA” titles on a significantly lower budget, and to also encourage more user input, directly influencing the design process and helping to tailor the game to what people want.
As technology is forever evolving, Dan Pinchback did make note that developers would have to be careful not to over-invest their time into producing their games with too many different types of technology in mind. The concern was that this approach could potentially lead to “spreading themselves thin”, and in turn, being unable to deliver an enriching game. Of course, this does not mean that developers and writers should be scared of experimenting with new technologies, it just means that they should focus on a singular component of new technology, and place emphasis on successfully implementing that technology as a key feature of the game.
A particular direction in technology that all parties agreed was very exciting was the rise of 3D immersive gaming through products such as the Oculus Rift. This singular piece of technology has provided an opportunity to writers in particular to be more detailed in the stories and gameplay mechanics that they are trying to portray. This technology has the potential to provide a more immersive experience, and to develop a deeper layer of interactivity, which in turn, could offer a more enriching experience for players. Don Golding in particular was very welcoming to the idea of VR gaming, and was very vocal in his wish to see how game developers could implement this type of technology in the future, and the way in which the industry could evolve if it were successful.
Overall, my experience at The Game Changers was very enlightening, and it left me with many thoughts about the future of gaming. For myself in particular, I will always be at the forefront of technology, and I am very eager to see how different technologies in the future will be implemented into gaming to deliver more depth and realism. In saying that, though, will the technology continue to evolve in a way where the depth and interactivity becomes that of a blur between real life and a game, and if this does happen, how will the gaming society react to such a shift? Will It be welcomed with arms open wide, or will it be brought down for the taboo of falsifying reality?
In an age where all forms of technology are taking leaps and bounds in such short spans of times, it’s important to be aware that the paradigm is quickly shifting towards that ever blurring line of immersion beyond reality itself. However, regardless of what the future holds, I for one am excited with all the possibilities that await, and I cannot wait to see how game developers will take us into that next level of gaming and beyond.