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Top Video Game Experts Envision The Future of Gaming

...and it looks pretty cool.

I great series in Popular Science recently delved into the topic of the future of entertainment, particularly in how it applies to the video game industry. The gaming industry, which is a more than $10 billion animal and growing each year, is utterly unlike any other type of media. Music may change in production or accessibility, but it’s enjoyed essentially the same way it has been for millennia. The same for the written word. Even television and movies are extensions of theater, which has been around since the ancient Greeks. Video games, however, have the interactive quality that allows them to transform the way that we experience entertainment. Thus, PopSci asked the biggest names in the gaming industry what the future of entertainment will look like.

To Cliff Blezinski, of Epic Games (Creators of the Gears of War franchise), the future is in connectivity. "Everybody connected, all the time, on high-speed internet,” he says. He envisions a world in which consoles are not a hardware fixture within the gaming world but simply a portal to a cloud-based virtual bonanza in which everyone can access games and content together. The closest thing that exists to this at the moment are RPG MMO’s, which often require expensive PC’s to run efficiently. A cheaper console that allowed people the same complexity and access to these massively multiplayer games would greatly change the gaming world.

Manveer Heir, lead developer on the new Mass Effect 3, envisions, “the ability to control the game with your mind,” as the pinnacle of future gaming. Of course, it sounds science fiction, but there have already been experiments with this technology with parapalegics and paralyzed individuals. A controller-free video game in which the difference between moving on screen and imagining moving on screen the distance between synapses is a tempting target. It’s a long way off, granted, but it does seem to be on its way.

More of a traditional view of video-game utopia might be what Jeremiah Slaszka envisions: tactile feedback and augmented reality (more of the 1990’s version of “virtual reality”). Although these principles are already being developed, particularly in mobile game apps, Slatszka says that tactile feedback, the feeling of actually performing the deeds that we want our video game avatars to accomplish, is a much more enticing future for video games. The ultimate payoff, of course, is what has paid off for the gaming industry developments so far: more immersive environments and gameplay.

If I mighty add my own two-cents to this bold new future in entertainment, the size of gaming worlds has seen a new premium in recent years. With games like Minecraft and Skyrim, part of that immersive enticement is from the size and manipulability of the worlds that are created. Yes I’d like a massively multiplayer game where I can physically control my character (or even manipulate it with my mind), but I want the parameters of that world to be so open and so immersive that I feel like it is another world that I’ve stepped into, not a grandiose obstacle course of scripted hurdles and timed events.