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 If next-gen games are now, then what's next?

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PostSubject: If next-gen games are now, then what's next?   Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:50 am

Downloadable content, online community the buzzwords for the future


In 2029, video games will look a lot like real life.


Ray Kurzweil,
renowned inventor and futurist, with 15 honorary degrees to his name,
believes that games are driving much of the innovation happening in the
world today.

“Games are becoming the harbinger of
everything we do,” he said during his keynote at the Game Developer’s
Conference on Thursday. “Play is how we principally learn, and how we
create.”

Indeed, video
games seem to be infiltrating the mass market at a rate never before
seen. The next-generation consoles — the Nintendo Wii, the Xbox 360
and the PlayStation 3 — inspired a bumper crop of innovative new games
in 2007. And games were the bright spot in an otherwise dreary holiday
retail season, with revenues of $4.82 billion in December alone.
Looking ahead
just five to 10 years, what can gamers expect from games? If virtual
reality will be real reality in 20 years, what trends of technology
will inch us toward that goal in the near term?
Clint Hocking,
creative director of the forthcoming “Far Cry 2” from Ubisoft, says
it’s important to keep broadening the audience for video games. He says
that games today rely on a “gamer shorthand,” where players have been
trained for years and years how to move around, how to shoot, how to
change weapons.
“I give that to someone who’s never played a video game before, and they don’t know what they’re looking at.”


Focus on the mass market

Until
the Wii — and the success of online games ranging from “Diner Dash” to
“World of Warcraft” — game developers largely ignored the mass market.
The assumption was that gamers would want to figure out complicated
button combinations on their PlayStation controller. They would want to
spend hours button-mashing on “Diablo 2.” They were, after all, only 18
years old. They had time for all that stuff. But that’s no longer a
safe assumption.
“The reality is, I’m 35 years old, and I have
less and less time for a 40-hour game experience, and it has to be
something that I care about,” says Hocking. “It has to be something
that’s meaningful to me, otherwise you’re going to lose me as part of
your audience.”

Like
most other forms of media, video games are becoming more and more
specific. Like shooters? There’s about 500 of them. Love online
role-playing games? There’s bound to be one for you. Like strategy
games — on the Nintendo DS? No problem.
And
that’s the sort of thing that excites Sid Meier, an industry veteran
who received a lifetime achievement award at this week’s Game Developer
Conference in San Francisco.
“As
a gamer, you’re seeing incredible games with great graphics and sound.
It’s a great time to be a gamer — and maybe a tougher time to be a
designer.”
He says
that back when he was first developing his iconic “Civilization”
strategy games, there were much tighter constraints on what you could
and couldn’t do. In those days, developers relied on the player to
supply in their imagination a lot of the things they couldn’t do
graphically or with sound, he says.
“Today we can do all that, but we also have to do all that,” he says.


Creating community

Gamers
have definitely evolved since the early days, says Tim Willits,
creative director at id Software, the company that brought you the
landmark “Doom” and “Quake” franchises.
“They
expect more than they have in the past, and they’re looking for the
whole experience,” says Willits. “They want more of a community-based
experience along with their single-player experience. With the
high-speed Internet connections that are so cheap now, everybody is
online, and they want the online community aspects to their games. “
For
its new game, “Rage,” Willits says the team plans to tie in some type
of community experience, to allow the players not to feel so alone in
their world.
“Lots
of times people have called video gamers these guys that sit alone in
their basement. That’s not true. They’re very social, they’re very
interactive and as developers we need to exploit that aspect of it.”
Chris
Butcher, engineering lead at Bungie Software, which created the “Halo”
series, agrees that games — and gamers — are definitely becoming more
social.

“Look at the success of ‘Rock Band,’” he says.
“People love using that game, not just as a game … but also as a means
of social communication and providing a social fabric that brings
together the people that they care about in their offline lives.”


Downloadable content

“Rock
Band,” a huge retail hit, has also made waves in terms of downloadable
content. Since its launch nearly three months ago, the game has
prompted the download of 2.5 million songs for players to add to the
ones that ship with the game disc.
“For
me, the downloadable content is the most important thing for the
industry in a very broad sense,” says Ken Levine, creative director of
2K Boston. “It allows for a relatively small portion of a fan base to
support a product in a way that it could never have been supported
before.”
As a
result, says Levine, creator of last year’s hit game, “Bioshock,”
people can take more risks with products that are more niche-based —
because the gamers excited about that niche can support it financially.


“Games desperately need a second stream of revenues to support a broader range of games,” he says.
But
Meier says that although we’re seeing a vast range of types and styles
for gamers, the question the industry needs to ask is: Where is this
all going?
“The
people who are just new to games and are just trying it because it’s a
new and fun thing — will we be able to really reach them and make them
permanent gamers? Or is this just something that they’ll do until the
next cool thing comes around?”

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PostSubject: Re: If next-gen games are now, then what's next?   Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:50 pm

Don't forget that virtual reality porn is on it's way too.
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PostSubject: Re: If next-gen games are now, then what's next?   Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:58 am

record4 wrote:
Don't forget that virtual reality porn is on it's way too.

What!? Shocked Omg are you serious, Gus? haha That willl probably become the best game of the year. LOL

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PostSubject: Re: If next-gen games are now, then what's next?   Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:29 pm

record4 wrote:
Don't forget that virtual reality porn is on it's way too.

Something the world can do without.
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PostSubject: Re: If next-gen games are now, then what's next?   Mon May 05, 2008 8:44 am

record4 wrote:
Don't forget that virtual reality porn is on it's way too.

Id rather have the real thing, dont you think Gus? Why have virtual when
two people can do it and feel so much better. Love
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PostSubject: Re: If next-gen games are now, then what's next?   Tue May 06, 2008 8:51 am

justanothergirlyo wrote:
record4 wrote:
Don't forget that virtual reality porn is on it's way too.

Id rather have the real thing, dont you think Gus? Why have virtual when
two people can do it and feel so much better. Love



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