The Future is a Video Game

by talkbackty on May 21, 2012

2011 was a pretty good year at the box office. Despite the industry claiming that their world will soon end because of piracy, ticket sales do not lie. Harry Potter 7 Part 2 made $169 million in a weekend, the highest of all time before The Avengers. Transformers, Twilight, Pirates of the Caribbean, all had blockbuster years at the box office.

And each one of them got their ass kicked by video games.
Harry Potter 7 Part 2 was the highest grossing film of 2011 and made huge waves for having a $92 million opening day. Modern Warfare 3 made $400 million in 24 hours. In five days it passed $750 million, a mark Harry Potter took nearly two weeks to pass. Transformers 3 came in second place at the box office and over its entire run made $350 million in the United States. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim made $450 million in five days.

And video games are terrible.
Video games lack so much creativity that Mario is still a best seller. Imagine if you went to the movies and Marty McFly was having another grand adventure with Doc Brown. That's what video games are like. For those who don't understand the reference that's because Back to the Future came out in 1985, a few years AFTER everyone's favorite plumber.

But it doesn't matter. Because video games are the future.
Over the past decade gaming has become mainstream. With the explosion of home consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation and with the culmination of "casual" games on smart phones and social networking sites like Facebook, games have become entwined with our way of life.

And it is only going to continue.

With the exponential growth rate of technology there is no doubt that video games will soon dominate our conscious lives. Currently it takes a certain kind of dedication to become truly entrenched in a game. There are far too many barriers to immersion for most people to sink into a game. Controllers can be foreign to non-gamers, screens can't replace real life.

But the barriers will fall away.

As time passes, technology will become easier to use, more user friendly and more connected to every day tasks. Just last week Google patented an infrared ring that users wear on their finger to control interfaces on augmented-reality glasses. Microsoft is releasing the Kinect for PC this year, which will likely replace the keyboard with swipes of the hand and voice commands. If those are not two sentences out of a sci-fi novel, I don't know what is.
Gaming, as it's known today, is the real future. Just as it only took a few years for smart phones to become the majority of cell phones on the market, the gaming revolution will happen faster than we can understand. It won't happen when a gaming company invents a new technology, or programs a new graphics engine so that monsters look awesome. Those things will already exist. True innovation isn't about invention but combination.

The transformative moment is not Google's Project Glass or Microsoft's Kinect or any single idea. The transformative moment is when a game is released that combines so many different elements that it becomes more than a game, it becomes a way of life. At first there will be a relatively small group, as there always is. Then that group expands. What's going to be different about the video game revolution is that it will have no reason to stop expanding.

The common quip is, "That sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie." No arguments here, there are countless books, essays, shorts and movies that all predict a similar kind of future. What may be unclear is that books and essays and movies are just ways of bringing imagination into reality. When technology advances to the point when an all-encompassing "game" is feasible, all those writers and filmmakers and all the fans of those writers and filmmakers will become the first wave of gamers. Science fiction is the imaginative precursor to manifestation in the physical reality.

A new book will soon be released by TED that discusses the Hybrid Reality that will exist for the next generation. Life will be lived as a hybrid, taking place in both the physical environment and the virtual one. Robotics will continue to take on greater workloads in the physical environment while humans become more involved in the virtual worlds we create. According to Hybrid Reality, "what human civilization needs more than anything is not greater IQ or EQ, but TQ: technology quotient." The ability to adapt and use advanced technology.

Which makes for an interesting debate between those currently using technology and those who are out of the loop or shunning it entirely. If you're reading this then chances are you fall into the former camp, and my position should be fairly obvious. With time the differences will become even more stark. Since birth there are those who have been upping their technology quotient, preparing, in a way, for the video game revolution. Now that the future looks so bright there is only one thing to do...

Keep gaming.


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