What Does the Next Generation of Gaming Hold?

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bill-swift - August 3, 2012

The world of video games is drastically changing. Always growing and evolving with the advance of technology, the video game industry is currently in the process of such a change.

The next gen is quickly approaching and that means out with the old and in with the new. Besides the obvious visual enhancements and hardware improvements we'll see, there's bound to be a shift in the style of games that are available. Like the generations before us, video games change with the times as well. Whether you like it or not, that's just how it goes.

So what's going to change with the new generation of games? That's what we're here to talk about.

We always see hints towards the next gen towards the end of the current gen. Certain ideas that have been attempted in the gaming community will begin to really come to fruition with the next gen such as movement controls and the overall virtual reality aspect of gaming. Sure, Playstation Move sucks and there's barely a reason to own a Kinect outside of maybe Skyrim but these past few years have been the testing phase that will be improved upon in the next gen. Personally, I hate the idea of movement controls and the idea of ‘being the controller' but that's the way things are going and I don't have a wrench big enough to throw in those gears.

Movement controls are the big one that everyone knows about but what else is going to play a strong factor in the future of our games? How about the idea of merging gaming into the every day lives of everyone; gamer or not? It started when we put video games on CDs back in the mid ‘90s. Suddenly we could play our favorite music in our video game consoles. Our current gen reinforced the idea more so with the PS3 having a built in Blu-Ray player, not to mention the inclusion of online marketplaces where one could stream various forms of entertainment such as TV and movies; neither of which had anything to do with video games.

Microsoft's newest ‘Smartglass' technology, introduced at this year's E3 in Los Angeles, was really the biggest proof of the direction we were heading in. Smartglass will give players the ability to control their Xbox consoles through smart phones and tablets, making it easier to control the way you stream TV, surf the net and even play games. I firmly believe that technology like Microsoft's Smartglass is here to stay and will strongly influence the video game industry in the days to come.

Last, but certainly not least, is one that manages to stay in the shadows to a degree. Gamers are smart nowadays. With the advancements in technology playing a vital role in our everyday lives, a lot of people are really getting into what makes our technologic innovations tick and really viewing a game as more than just a game. People understand, to a degree, what it takes to make what they see on our screen and why they are starring at a smoking console with a red light flashing on it. It was only a matter of time before players started trying to take matters into their own hands and try to directly influence their gaming experience. I'm talking about the wonderfully nerdy world of ‘modding'. Once only a word used by PC gamers, the ability to mod a game is quickly making its way into the mainstream gaming community. Fan projects such as newly announced Grand Theft Auto IV mod that will transform the game into, fan favorite, San Andreas speaks volumes of how much regular people are capable of doing. That's not to forget the massive hit ‘Minecraft'; a game build solely off the idea of having players create their own world. With unseen freedom such as that, it was only a matter of time before the fruits of their labor began popping up all over the net; a true testament to what can be made out of the simplest of structures.

I had always thought that some form of gaming customization would be present in the next gen of gaming but it wasn't until I caught word of Ouya that I realized how big it really was. Ouya is looking to be the next big thing in the world of gaming and promises, amongst other things, to give players the ability to alter their games as they have with massive hits such as Skyrim; promising to include a developer kit with every console. Checking out the healthy $6.3 million that's been raised so far on Ouya's Kickstarter page is proof enough of the demand players have for such an idea.

No one can ever be sure of what the future holds but, based on what we've seen, this looks to be it.

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