This year there has been an important event in the game industry but it hasn’t been paid attention to by all the people related to interactive entertainment. The analytic agency NPD Group announced that in the first half of 2010 Americans bought more online games than traditional ones recorded on disks. And the ratio of online games was 57.7% - you have to agree that it’s a high percentage. There are practically all the first-rate game producers including Electronic Arts, Blizzard, Activision and 2K Games on the list of the major online stuff sellers.
The above statistics as well as the increasing number of the analytics’ prognoses make us ponder – what will computer games be like in the nearest future? There is lot of authoring and ideas for various controllers, movement sensors and virtual reality helmets, but everyone is likely to find it more interesting to give some thought and look into general trend of the present day game industry. Will there still be disks with games for personal computers and consoles on sale in a few years? Will the PC remain the platform where we will play in the near future? You can get answers to these and other questions only after you observe carefully the online services, current trends of the game industry and listen attentively to the analytics’ prognoses. So, are you ready to look into the “tomorrow” of the game industry? Then we are setting off right away!
Two Future Options: Online Services and OnLive
Speaking of the future of video games you can spot at least one common thing in all the prognoses and opinions. It’s online that is going to “run the show” in the next few years. Though there are still places on the globe with no internet access, practically all the developers and publishers focus on those gamers who have constant and not the worst internet connection. Those areas that have no world wide web access may remain a rare exception to the rule – disks will be sold there even in 5 or 10 years. But this audience is not likely to become priority for the game developers who have turned their eyes to the immediate reaction of gamers and the rapid spreading of their projects.
Well, everything is more or less clear with the online part. There are two options here: online distribution services and online services based on cloud computing. These two terms are not identical, that is why in order to understand them better we are going to examine the essence of them.
But before describing the game services we should mention another scenario of the future of our favourite games. We again refer to the online sector but this time we suggest looking at it from a new perspective – games will continue to evolve even while players are away from them, like well-known MMORPG. The franchise called FIFA can be an illustrative example. Electronic Arts annually releases new versions of this football simulator. The list of changes traditionally remains short: there have been added a couple of feints, the soundtrack has been renewed and a new cover for the disk has been created … that’s all. And the head of the EA Sports department Peter Moore’s dream is that FIFA will become a wholly online game. Then the players could enjoy sport #1 all the 365 days of the year, could get regular updates and could forget the time when they used to look forward to September/October and the next FIFA disk. According to Moore Electronic Arts has taken some steps in this direction and the situation can change drastically within the next 5 years.
It goes without saying that creators of other games (not only sport simulators but other kinds as well) can catch the tendency. This option is not for action, shooter and RPG game developers though, since more often than not a new game contains another code and it’s impossible to just update an old version. But there are other games: managers, tycoons, life sims, strategies and races. Instead of rushing to the shop for a disk with new buildings, cars and pieces of furniture you can get all the content released in the form of paid update which will be purchased immediately by fans of a project.
However, who said that action games couldn’t evolve online? For instance, the head of Activision Bobby Kotick got enthusiastic about the idea of launching the Call of Duty online version long ago. If it happens one day, everything is going to be like in true MMORPG – paying a monthly user charge gamers will be enabled to play any number of matches, the arsenal will continually be replenished with new weapons and equipment, and it will be possible to gain further game credits by performing contracts (they will substitute usual quests in role-playing games). Even if developers ever want to change the online action engine, there won’t be many problems – players will be able to download a new game client.
Call Of Duty