This article is the introduction to our eBook The Future of Gaming, in which KeenGamer writers discuss how the game’s industry will change. If you enjoy our work, please consider sending us a donation via PayPal on [email protected]. Every dollar will help us fund future projects. Feel free to download the full book in PDF. Or you can read the chapter of your choice in the list below:
Chapter 1: The Future of Video Game Distribution
Chapter 2: The Future of Virtual Reality Games
Chapter 3: The Future of Games for Social Good
Chapter 4: The Future of Video Game Platforms
Chapter 5: The Future of eSports
Chapter 6: 11 Companies that May Build the Road to the Future
I am sure that you are wondering what KeenGamer is and who wrote this eBook. And why should you read it, am I right? Firstly, you are already reading it, which is great and we thank you for your interest. Let’s be short here and let you dive into more interesting chapters than this one.
KeenGamer is a website for gamers, where you can find all the things you would expect: news, reviews, guides, interviews and much more around great AAA games but also about unknown indie titles.
One day, we asked ourselves with the team about what else we could do to enrich our content and differentiate us from our competitors. And because we love games and are all keen to know the future, we realized that everyone is asking all the time what the heck will happen in gaming in few years from now.
Certainly there are many theories. That is where we stepped in and tried to provide the most optimistic, pessimistic and realistic points of view on several aspects of the gaming industry. I hope that you will find our thoughts and theories, based on deep analysis and statistics, at least worth reading and, if your mind will be drifting around our ideas before you fall asleep, we did our job well.
As we wrote this eBook only for the good feelings of it, all the authors engaged would appreciate your support. If you like this project, please send us your thanks and love via PayPal. Even a few dollars would mean a lot, if hundreds of you would send them.
Our PayPal account: [email protected]
Read below the introduction of our eBook, in which we address how the games industry has evolved over the years to become what it is today and what it may become.
Karel Vik, Founder and CEO
past and present: an introduction to the future of gaming
Michael got on the school bus, wondering if his father would keep his promise. Wearing five layers of clothing, Michael held on to his report card and watched the snow falling on every house that went by. He was anxious to get home and show his grades to his dad. He craved for his reward. The ride seemed to last an eternity, but when his place of comfort appeared on the horizon, Michael’s heart raced. He was eager to walk through the front door and show the A+ he had gotten in every exam, but he questioned if his dad would stay true to his word.
When the bus stopped, Michael rushed to get out. Snow and frozen wind tried to stop him, but he was a child on a mission. He stepped inside his home and yelled for his dad, who walked downstairs holding a box. Michael`s father had already called school. He knew about the good grades and had the money to honor his promise this time. He handed the package to Michael, who opened it with voracity. Inside, he found his reward – a PlayStation. Sony had released it in North America 15 months before, on September 9, 1995.
Michael spent the following years immersed in magical universes, defeating the greatest foes. He infiltrated Shadow Moses in Metal Gear Solid, survived the horrors of a zombie-infested mansion in Resident Evil and tamed the world’s fastest racecars in Gran Turismo. Video games had become an extension of his self and with every new title, his passion continued to blossom. However, despite Michael`s fascination, some people opposed gaming. Even before his birth, controversy had already begun.
In the 70s, politicians started to attack video games, saying they provoke violent behavior. For example, in 1982, Marshfield, USA, banned arcade machines in the city to reduce crime. Only in 2014, citizens voted and overturned the decision. This and other cases of politicians vs. gaming started a trend. Patrick Markey and Christopher Ferguson, in their book Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games is Wrong, say that the media began to use the fear some people had of gaming to get higher ratings. This strategy climaxed in the late 90s.
On April 20, 1999, 2 shooters killed 12 students in the Columbine massacre in Colorado, USA. The media tried to make sense of the situation and it linked gaming to violent behavior, when news outlets discovered that the gunmen played Doom and Wolfenstein 3D. The war on gaming had begun. Over the next years, politicians, journalists and authors continued to accuse video games of creating violence. Dave Grossman is an example. In his book Assassination Generation: Video Games, Aggression, and the Psychology of Killing, he writes:
“In military training, our armed forces use psychological conditioning to help their troops turn off the safety catch inherent in most healthy human beings that produce a natural aversion to killing other members of our species. The video game industry indiscriminately applies these same techniques to the consumers who play their games.”
After Columbine, the media stereotyped gamers as social outcasts, who wanted to escape reality – or plan shootings. Authors also questioned the artistry of the medium. In 2010, Roger Ebert (right), American film critic and winner of the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, said that “games will never be art” and that playing them is a fool`s errand. “But for most gamers, video games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilized and empathetic.” Mr. Ebert died of thyroid cancer in 2013, holding on to his belief until the end. While his accomplishments as a pundit in the film industry are remarkable, he was wrong about gaming.
In 2011, the American government conferred legal protection to video games under the first amendment of its Constitution, which grants freedom of speech. A Supreme Court statement said: “Video games communicate ideas — and even social messages — through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium.” Notorious personalities commented on the topic. “Games are the new normal,” said Al Gore (above), former vice-president of the United States, during the 8th Games for Change Festival, held in June 2011. Although his endorsement is encouraging, it is also an understatement. Gaming is more than just “the new normal.”
In December 2016, UNESCO published a research conducted by Paul Darvarsi titled Empathy, Perspective and Complicity: How Digital Games Can Support Peace, Education and Conflict Resolution. The paper states that the interactivity of video games can make people more empathic and handle their emotions better. This conclusion counters Roger Ebert, but there is more to the potential of gaming. Due to the branching narratives of titles like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Life is Strange, the author Janet Murray says that video games are the next evolution for the ancient art of storytelling. As she writes in her book Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in the Cyberspace:
“Not only is the computer the most capacious medium ever invented, but it also allows us to move around the narrative world, shifting from one perspective to another at our own initiative. Perhaps this ability to shift perspectives will lead to the technical innovation that will rival the Shakespearean soliloquy.”
The medium which the public perceived as a refuge for people who lack social skills has become the future of storytelling, thanks to the efforts of developers and the love of players. Now, more than 2 decades after Michael received his PlayStation, graphics can look almost identical to a film, narratives are as intricate as a novel and worlds continue to grow. Holding his PlayStation 4 controller, Michael saved humanity from a rogue artificial intelligence in Horizon Zero Dawn, discovered ancient treasures in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and wandered through a post-apocalyptic Boston in Fallout 4. As Michael recalls these journeys, he looks back at what video games were, what they are and wonders – what will they become?
Michael is a fictional character, created for this introduction, but real discussions can come from his question. To answer it, KeenGamer hired video game journalists worldwide to discuss the future of gaming. To create this analysis, we split this project into different chapters, each covering a major facet of the industry. The writers will approach every subject in three ways. First, they will present a pessimistic prediction, describing the worst scenario for the future. They will follow it by detailing their most optimistic assessments. We believe that the truth hides in between these two, so each chapter will end with a mix of both – the likeliest future.
This eBook is the product of extensive research on the evolution of video game distribution, eSports, consoles, among other topics. To supplement these analyses, writers conducted interviews with developers, experts and players, to get as many insights as possible. The following pages are the result of this collaborative effort. If you enjoy this eBook, please consider supporting KeenGamer, by liking us on Facebook and Twitter or by sending us a donation through PayPal to [email protected]. We hope this eBook will give you a glimpse of how the industry you love will change.
Have a great reading,
Caio Sampaio, project manager, writer, proofreader and original concept