|CHIBA, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 20: An attendee (L) plays Namco Bandai Games Inc.'s 'Tekken' with Nintendo Co.'s Wii U. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)|
The video game market has been around for over 40 years, and since its heyday until now, the market never seems to stop innovating. There is always a new piece of technology being incorporated into the games, a new way of games being delivered to consumers, and entirely new genres of games that pop up. Here are some of the top trends that are just starting to catch on.
1. Motion Based GamingOn a sunny, but cool March morning, I sat in an overcrowded auditorium in San Jose, CA eagerly awaiting the keynote speaker to come out and make his announcements. Outside, people were carrying signs that said things such as “Give it to us, Iwata-san!”, in reference to the keynote speaker, Mr. Satoru Iwata, the CEO of Nintendo. It was here that he unveiled the Nintendo Wii. He explained that Nintendo wanted to create a system so simple that a small child or a grandma could pick up the controller and be able to play right away without learning anything. This kicked off a revolution of motion-based gaming.
With games that allowed users to pick up the controller and start swinging away with it as if it were a baseball bat, golf club, tennis racquet, or just about anything else imaginable, sales of the Nintendo Wii picked up very quickly for over a year, beating out Sony and Microsoft, despite having inferior processing power and graphics capabilities.
|Playing kinect adventures (Photo credit: Nickogibson)|
While still in its infancy, motion-based gaming is one of the basic building blocks necessary to bring out games that give players truly immersive game play. Combined with other emerging technologies such as augmented reality and haptic feedback, maybe in a few years, we can start to see video games that allow players to not only play a video game, but also be able to move, see and feel as if they were really in the game.
2. Mobile and Social Media GamingSmartphones have started to become more ubiquitous, and for many it’s hard to remember how life was before they existed. In addition to making phone calls, they are great at checking email, browsing the web, and iPhone users have the added benefit of doubling up in using them as an iPod or as an mobile version of the iTunes Jukebox. Games and smartphones seem to go together hand-in-hand, as we see through the app stores on the iOS and Android platforms, which are flooded with many game offerings.
Mobile games have been around for quite some time. As a child, I remember my uncle in Japan sending me a Christmas gift in 1980. It was a portable video game from Nintendo called a “Game & Watch”. It was a very simple game machine that could only play one game, so the graphics were not computer generated, but simply pictures that were etched into the screen, and lit up at the appropriate times. Since then, portable games have come a long way, with Nintendo dominating this market first with its Gameboy series, and then the Nintendo DS series. Sony has also been in the game for a while with its more robust Playstation Portable and Playstation Vita portable consoles. The more recent offerings from Nintendo and Sony allow gamers to play against one another online, and even have options to get onto 4G networks for true anytime, anywhere gaming.
Facebook, has also been making quite a few inroads into the mobile arena, as people want to update their thoughts, whereabouts, etc. at the moment, instead of waiting until they can get in front of a computer. Gamers are no different. If they are playing a portable game and get a high score, they want to immediately have this updated on the scoreboards to let the world know. At the same time, games running on Facebook’s own platform are evolving at a very rapid pace, and now, there is a race to see which of these games will be the first big hit to go “cross-platform”, meaning which game will allow players to play against one another between facebook and mobile platforms.
3. Game Consoles Are Fighting for Control of Our Living RoomsIn the past, video game consoles just did one thing: play video games. They were usually plugged in next to your VCR, cable box, or DVD player, among other devices near the TV. Nowadays, all of them do much more than just play video games.
Sony, being the consumer electronics giant that it is, has put in some of its own know-how into the Playstation 3, and comes included with a Blu-Ray Disc player that can play your blu-ray titles, DVD titles, and even CDs. For Microsoft, coming from a PC background, provides a simple way for people to access media files from other Windows based computers in the home network, as well as includes a DVD player and in subsequent versions of the Xbox 360, will include a Blu-ray disc player.
For all three platforms, they can all access popular streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, and others. Nintendo’s Wii is the only console that is not aggressively seeking to dominate the living room, and provides the least to offer outside of playing video games.
Video games are taking the world by storm, and new paradigms in business and gameplay have started to change the way we think about them. As they start to move more into our daily lives, like it or not, they are not only here to stay, but you will start to see more of their influence in just about everything we do.
Guest Author: Freelance writer Benjamin Baker is addicted to writing, and a thorough researcher. He is married with three children and loves to go fishing and camping in his free time. While browsing the internet for ideas to add to his series of article on gaming, he came across http://www.menshideaway.com. He’s now going to build a private gaming room in his house for him and his sons.