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Where do you see the industry in the next 5 years?


Romier S
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The question is fairly simple of course. I'd love to hear your predictions on where the gaming industry is going in 5 years. I'd like to keep things realistic so no: "WELL ALL BE WEARING HEADSETS THAT WILL SHOW LARA CROFT NAKED" (Not a word Robot Monkey).

 

I'm curious to see what you guys think and what you guys WANT from your games in the next 5 years. I trust you guys to have a healthy conversation about this. Everyone is entitled to thier opinion so lets show that respect.

 

Now in the words of Hannibal Lecter "Thrall me with your acumen"

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Eh? My M.O. is to post something generally on point, then allow my post to turn horribly awry. No doubt you've confused me with Whooter. :P

 

Where do I see it or where do I hope to see it? Since I'm a half-full kinda guy I'll stick with "hope":

 

My hope is that more games will support XBL-like features. No, I don't mean Xbox Live in particular. Nor do I mean making everything multiplayer. I mean the community aspect. Look, most of us -- at some time or another -- have spent an enjoyable hour or so watching someone else play a game.

 

What if we could all hang out watching, say, Kelley, play Splinter Cell. You know, chatting while watching him play. At some point, because he his stuck or a kind soul, he says, Chris, you give it a shot.

 

I think it would be pretty cool. That's one example, but I'll step back and put "ditto" in a macro to await everyone else's reply.

 

And that headset you mentioned? Not interested. I wouldn't even want to imagine cleaning the attendant peripherals.

 

-j

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I think on the tech side of things, the medium will probably be HD-DVD. Meaning 1080i/p and/or 720p, plus (for the "commoners" :wink: ) 480i/p. Probably a DVI and/or 1394 connection. Plus, DVD-A and/or SACD soundtracks.

But for all the hi-tech marvels I'm sure we'll see, they mean NOTHING if the games suck. They need to make games fun. I still haven't finished Zelda: WindWaker on GC, but have fond memories of Zelda on the NES. IMHO, Super Mario Sunshine sucks, but Super Mario Bros. on the NES is one of my all-time favorites. I just unlocked Wolfenstein 3D after beating RTCW, and I'm having more fun playing 3D than RTCW.

My point is the games of old were just more fun to me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy some current games. Games like Rallisport Challenge and Conflict: Desert Storm. But I think too many games rely on pretty graphics. They're all sizzle and no steak.

The industry needs to get back to the basics: FUN, FUN, FUN!

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I think in a couple years games are going to stagnate even moreso than they already have. Not to doomsay, but the number of games that suck vs. fun lately has been going up. A lot of that has to do with the move to 3D and the death of good thoughtful design in favor of rushing something the hell out the door to make sure it gets to the consumer.

 

But we have too many 3D action titles and FPS titles. These genres NEED innovation badly. FPS titles in particular. I think the stealth genre is going to slam into a huge wall in the near future due to the ridiculous number of titles all touting the same basic gameplay.

 

Games that have really hit the big time in the past little while have all offered something new and exciting, whether it's the free form gameplay of GTA3, the storyline and AI of Half-Life, or the skateboarding mayhem of Tony Hawk. That's still not enough though, as games that try original concepts like Frequency, Rez, or to a lesser extent even Freedom Force don't excel in sales. We're watching the industry get streamlined into a set of genres that companies are afraid to operate outside of, for fear of not seeing a profit.

 

My one true hope for the future is that adventure games, the single deadest genre on record right now, make a resurgence in some form. They've been undergoing a bit of a renaissance, but the last adventure game that had everybody talking was arguably The Longest Journey, which is years old now.

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last adventure game that had everybody talking was arguably The Longest Journey, which is years old now.

 

A title which is thankfully receiving a sequel in 2004. You of course can't forget Syberia and its up an coming sequel and I believe there is a very promising Jack the Ripper title due at the end of this year. (not too mention a slew of lower key and somewhat decent titles).

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Nor the third Broken Sword title, though I'm dubious about its switch to 3D after the very charming Don Bluth animation the first two had.

 

I remember the Ripper title you mentioned, Romier, which will hopefully be alright, but for some reason games have had a hard time dipping into that particular well.

 

Honestly though, I think adventure games are going to have their best shot with Jane Jensen's new title. She's one of the best designers in the genre for mixing realistic puzzles with a crackling story.

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While I strongly disagree that there is anymore crap out there today than there was in the 8-Bit or 16-Bit days, the trend that I do see happening and continuing in the next few years is this becoming even more of a franchise driven industry.

 

These days the biggest selling and the ones with the most buzz and anticipation seem to all be sequels of popular games. No matter how good it seems harder and harder for a new game to breakthrough unless it's from an established studio.

 

Other entertainment industries suffer from sequelitis whether it's movies, TV, or even books. But I don't think it's nearly as hard to have a breakthrough in movies today as it can be in the games industry. I mean, you rarely see sequels winning major awards (unless it's Teen Choice, or MTV) yet games awards are filled with GTA Vice City, Metroid, and Madden snatching up all the awards.

 

It's not all bad of course, good games deserve good sequels, but in the end we may start to see even more sequels of these games, and sequels to games that the publisher is trying to force into a franchise.

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I think HD output would be common for the next generation of consoles, and perhaps storage onto HD based media. If one considers the global market for HDTV is so small, such a progression would still very much have to offer 480i/p downconversion as Europe, notably the UK, for exmaple, have no real plans to adopt HDTV in the near future.

 

Althought I've yet to experience it myself, it seems Microsoft have really got a great thing established with X-Box Live, and I could see Sony and Nintendo taking a few pages out of MS's book regarding what works and what doesn't work with that approach to online gaming. This is, providing Nintendo actually believes there is a market for online compatability in five years. :)

 

Graphically, I could certainly believe we'll hit near perfect photo-realism in games on the next generation of consoles. We're already so glose to this in some of the sports games as it is. I'm not sure if such perfect photo-realism outside of sport genres will be an entirely good thing mind you. You can picture so many jumping on the "look how real we made it look" bandwaggon and forgetting to focus as much on the gameplay. This happens with every new generation of consoles of course. I could see a developer release a gore filled photo-realistic game for the press to have a field day with.

 

I think all the companies will take sound a lot more seriously in five years too. Perhaps 5.1 will be standard in the next generation of consoles, but we've seen how with the current generation, consoles have firmly found their place as a worthy component of a home theatre now that they can offer progressive scan, pro logic II, 5.1 and HDTV resolutions.

 

The most important thing, the games themselves, is rather tricky to predict. I can't see things being much different to what's on offer to us now. The slew of graphically updated sequels will continue, I could see the rate or genuinely superb game releases being about the same it is today, and perhaps the rate of so many below average releases being even higher.

 

Daniel

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I also expect more device-combining, except perhaps from Nintendo who will stick with gaming-only consoles. The PSX (PS1) could play back audio CDs, then the PS2 and Xbox could play DVDs. I expect Tivo-like functionality, network music streaming and playback, and content downloads. HD resolution will be even more native, but since we're talking about only 2 years down the road, I think most developers will still be in 480i land for the most part.

 

As far as the content itself, I surely hope for some genre crossover. The formulas are getting old, and by the next generation, even today's newer gamers will begin to tire of the same RPG, same platformer, etc. over and over again.

 

I also expect more movie license crossover. While the Matrix game arguably sucked, I think we'll see more investment in the accompanying games. Hopefully, these bigger budgets will mean more innovations. Unfortunately, the marketing needs of games sometimes means fewer innovations.

 

I would love to see some new genres. Why does everything have to be an RPG, FPS, Platformer, Action-Adventure, Shooter, or Sports Title? How about some more innovative titles that we haven't thought of? I'm not talking about trippy shooters or puzzle games (as much as I love Rez) or goofy Japanese titles like Mr. Mosquito. I'm talking about huge titles that really twist the genre boundaries, or games that actually make social or political statements as some movies do today.

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I'm not expecting much out of the next gen. More combining multiple devices like the PSX looks to be.

 

Sadly, I think this is the most probable event I've seen so far in the thread.

 

I expect Tivo-like functionality, network music streaming and playback

 

Great, more functionality that I have zero use for since I already have them in other, better implemented devices. I just want to play games, thanks. :roll: :evil:

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I just want to play games, thanks.

 

Couldn't agree more with this.

 

The more functionality the more crap can break, the closer you're getting to turning a game machine into a computer. I don't want a computer. I have a computer. If these things start sporting web browsers it is quite possible for technology to outstrip the machine, then what, upgrades?

 

Ask Sega about that one...

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In 5 years we'll probably be 3 years into the lifespan of the next generation consoles. That means we're talking about tech that's pretty much a completed design today. Therefore, I don't see any possibility of fairly exotic features like HD-DVD or DVI.

 

Certainly support for HD resolutions will be more common in 5 years simply due to the increased video RAM and power of the consoles. It's almost a duh-type given, IMO.

 

I also disagree with the notion that the game industry will stagnate. There is a boat load of shovelware on the markte but, while the quantity may be greater than in the past, the % of good to bad games is probably pretty much the same. Further, the industry is far better prepared from a financial perspective. Manufacturing costs are driven down by cheap disc-based games. Development costs are certainly higher but shared resources (audio & graphical tools, engines, etc.) and creative budgeting (licenses, retail partnering, in-game ads, etc.) keep these costs in check.

 

 

...Console sports games will be indistinguishable from TV broadcasts of the sport in 5 years.

 

Further proof EA hasn't a clue.

Pundits have been predicting real-time "Toy Story-like" graphics for the last few years. We're still a generation or two away from that. Rendering a sports game that's graphically "indistinguishable from TV" is a l-o-n-g way off. Making the overall presentation indistinguishable from TV is doable but not graphically.

 

The PSX "extra" features debate:

I hear this one all the time. I understand the argument: I want a game console to do one thing very good: Play games.

Ok...great, but why not add PVR features? It's virtually a given that future consoles will implement a hard drive. The addition of PVR capability is nothing more than a $20 tuner chip and software (and the tuner chip is optional). How can that possibly hurt your ability to play games? Did the Xbox's ability to play DVDs harm your ability to play games?

I didn't think so.

 

Games

The last major advance in gaming (IMO) happened with Mario64. Such major games are very few and very far between. If I could predict the next revolution I wouldn't be sharing it publicly.

 

I think the current generation has been defined by a higher level of interactivity. Games like GTA are cool because of the freedom provided the player. The game lets you "do more stuff" resulting is a real virtual world. That's the area I'd like to see improved upon in the future. I shouldn't have to say, "how cool would it be if I could do X, X, & X in this game?" -it should be there.

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Well I?ll put in what I would like to see done in the next five years, the birth of the epic Co-op adventure game. Picture yourself playing a novel like Eye of the World (Wheel of Time book 1) or even Lord of the Rings where a small group of friends can play through a loose version of the story connected online using voice masking to match the characters. The trick to move the story along but at the same time keep the game play open is to keep the players in a running situation, keep moving or be caught and killed (escaping capture or rescuing fellow players from capture can be an integral part of the game) and a main goal for the group is set at the beginning of the game.

 

I want to see more games where the story is much more important than running around killing every moving thing in sight. Basically what I?m getting at is taking the best part of a single player role-playing game like Zelda, Morowind, Ultima, even Halo to some extent and the best aspects of a MMOLRPG like DAOC or EQ and make a 1-15 player online role-playing game that can be played on or offline with dynamic challenges and use of bots depending on how many players are playing at one time. I want a game that the story is so rich that it IS just as entertaining to watch someone play as would watching an adventure movie. Part of why I like Halo so much is that it has such a rich story to back it up, it makes me want to play through the game because I care about what happens to Master Chief. What I see happening in the next five years is taking this concept a few levels beyond that. If I was still in game development, that?s what I?d be pushing to do, the foundation for it is off to a very good start now.

 

 

Hmm did anyone get what I was trying to say?

 

Dean

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Hmm did anyone get what I was trying to say?

 

Yeah, I do, I think that's not bad at all. Actually, the way you describe the Lord of the Rings game, that's how the LotR board game actually plays, with a group of players each playing the role of a hobbit trying to play against the game system as Sauron to reach Mt. Doom.

 

I think the co-op adventure game is looooong overdue. Co-op in general is my favorite mode in any multiplayer game. Serious Sam, Sven Co-op and such are all favorite games/mods of mine. Imagine a Final Fantasy where we each played an angst-ridden dope and went through a dynamic, changing story.... that'd get me playing FF games again ;).

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Well, we'll be jamming on out Xbox II's and our PS3's.

 

We'll all be gushing over how life like the graphics are...but gameplay is king.

 

The online gaming experience should be more robust than it is now but, since deathmatching my 1st Quake II game, 6 years ago...I really haven't noticed that it's advanced much. It's still the same running around and shooting people. *yawn*. Yeah, DSL and cable have made it better, Xbox Live, with it's voice, has advanced the online experience but...since getting my ass handed to me by some chick 6 years ago...it's pretty much the same deal. Other than getting my ass handed to me...

 

But, other than brute force processing power, how far removed is our latest consoles from the Atari 2600? They're still just consoles. We haven't started jacking into our brains, ala The Matrix yet. Now THAT'S a revolution. They still just move images on our tv's...which have gotten alot better but still....no virtual reality. I still can't SMELL the scenery in my games. Sometimes...that's a good thing!

 

I don't think there will be anything truly "revolutionary" in the next 5 years. I think it will be more of the same "evolutionary

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Just thought of something I LOVE to see in the next five years:

 

An FPS with some sort of adaptive AI that actually takes metrics on your skills, then creates BOTS that have the exact same attributes as you do.

 

So after playing for x hours to give the system a chance to collect info, you could launch a bot that has the same jerky movement, same hit/miss ratio, same evasion/agression coefficient, same habits of where you prefer to snipe from, same frequency of going for power-ups/health, etc.

 

So then you could spawn 5 or 6 bots and actually play against clones of yourself!

 

I don't know if the technology is there, but maybe that is something that we will see emerge soon.

 

Sound doable?

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Movies have reached a point where people are starting to care less about the special effects and are more interested in whether or not the movie sucks.

 

Likewise, in five years (HOPEFULLY), developers will have pushed the technology as far as it can go and they'll be forced to make the gameplay catch up with the looks.

 

My MAME emulator gets as much usage as my consoles do, and the reason for that is because I don't need a game to look as good as the real world does in order for me to enjoy it. Brute Force got MAYBE three or four hours of gameplay before I gave up on it and condemned it to eBay. But if I added up all the consecutive time I spent playing Ms. Pac-Man in my lifetime? Now we're talking days, WEEKS...

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Comparing classic games to today's games is an easy argument to fall back on -but I find it lacks relevance. When we make statements like, "games haven't changed since the glory days of the NES or Atari 2600" we're really saying game control or game input hasn't advanced.

Comparisons between classic titles & current games tend to focus on the inherent limitations in man-to-game interface. Control issues. Input has not advanced much beyond up, down, left, right, shoot, jump, etc.

Game control is not going to change for a good long while. The death of 2D displays and a paradigm change in terms of computer output will need to occur before we ever see a revolution beyond the same basic control scheme used in every video game ever made.

A case could be made that current games steal their basic game design from the classics as well. The level-boss-level-boss structure or the "figure out the enemy pattern" design element being the most obvious examples. Just as there are only so many ways to tell a literary story there are only so many ways to advance the gameplay.

 

The classic game vs. current game argument is based upon a logic that fails to even consider the huge leap games have made in interactivity and depth. Game control simply isn't going to advance...not for a long while. Why even bother with the input argument when it's simply not going to change?

The advance has been in "virtual worlds" and depth of interactivity. There is simply no comparison between today's games and classic titles in terms of reality (no matter how unreal the in-game reality is). It has little to do with how "real" the game looks and more with how "real" the world feels and reacts to the choices made by the player. In game physics, ambitious AI, scripted elements, smart level design, and powerful game engines make today's games unlike any classic game.

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In game physics, ambitious AI, scripted elements, smart level design, and powerful game engines make today's games unlike any classic game.

 

We still sit in front of tv's. We still use a hand held controller to interface with the games. They still just move graphics and create sounds to make our gameworlds.

 

Hence: evolutionary. Not revolutionary.

 

They're definitely better now but, it's still the same thing.

 

When we went from Yahtzee to Pong; that was a revolution. Unless you're playing video Yahtzee. :wink:

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