What gaming could look like in 2050
In 2050, we’ll see a lot of new technology in the games we play. Over the past 30 years, we’ve seen graphics, consoles and file sizes change beyond what we could ever have imagined. In fact, today, many game trailers could be confused for live action movie scenes.
The gaming industry is continually evolving, and, within the next few decades, video games could be as realistic as real life.
In fact, the global gaming industry is worth around nine times more than the global box office industry, with a third of the world (2.9 billion) said to be active game players.
So, to look at how we might be gaming within 30 years and what that might mean for us, tombola surveyed gamers to find out what features they want to become commonplace in the next three decades alongside real-world examples currently in development.
1. Retro resurgence taking you back to childhood
Surprisingly, alongside the high-tech world of VR and its possibilities, the gamers surveyed predict a retro resurgence.
Recently, the likes of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon have been re-released, and not just for Playstation but available on other consoles. Likewise, Nintendo’s line of mini consoles - based on the iconic NES and SNES consoles - sold out within a week of launch.
So it could be safe to say that we’ll see older games surge in popularity in 2050. With the addition of more immersive technology, this means we might even get the chance to race with Sonic in the future.
2. Smell-o-vision to immerse you in the game world
VR lacks key elements, including smell. And that’s one of the features gamers would like to see introduced.
Smell-o-vision was actually developed in 1939, with tubes placed in individual seats in a movie theatre to enable users to smell what was happening in the film. Now, it’s been developed for the use of VR.
Feelreal, currently undergoing crowdfunding, is perhaps the most well-known. Their mask covers the nose and mouth and attaches to VR headsets such as Oculus Rift and the Samsung Gear VR. You can smell the likes of spring forests or even burning rubber when racing.
Vaqso is another company dipping their toes into the world of smell, promising to offer the smallest scent device for VR, including the option to smell zombies… but the mask is not yet available to buy.
3. Omnidirectional treadmills to explore the gaming world
A common thread within the gamers’ feedback was to be more ‘immersed’ in the world of the game, something which developers are always trying to cater for. But, playing from your sofa can impact that experience, which is why in 30 years we may see omnidirectional treadmills (ODT) become commonplace, accessible and affordable.
The ODT provides a fully immersive experience, allowing users to explore the world in the game and move in every direction. Companies such as Infinadeck (featured in Ready Player One) and Virtuix have started development on the treadmills. Virtuix is letting people sign up for when pre-orders start but we are yet to see these in our homes. And with hefty price tags, it might take some time before we do.
4. Ultra-realistic immersive VR
This ties into ultra immersive virtual reality, another feature our gamers want to be commonplace in 30 years. What they want to see is VR open world games that you can jump into, consoles no longer existing and real life graphics rather than computer generated.
5. Full body tracking and haptic vests to move as you would in real life
‘Full video immersion where you can feel things happening’ was just one of the features suggested by gamers to become mainstream within 30 years.
VIVE is one of the companies currently offering a full body tracker, letting you have more control of your movements within VR, with a price tag of £129. The likes of Oculus Quest, one of the more popular VR headsets, do not yet have this functionality, but it looks like they are taking notice.
However, it’s not just the ability to move as you would in real life. The gamers surveyed said they want to feel what happens in the games to them in the real world, which might take another few years to master.
6. Holographic HUD to turn on with just one button
One feature that did come up a lot was removing the need for a console in 2050. Instead, gamers would just need a holographic HUD or dashboard that they can turn on with just a button and choose what they want to play.
This would remove the need for making space for consoles, or even choosing which console to buy.
While not directly related to games, the likes of WayRay are moving forward with holographic displays, attempting to replace car dashboards with them to radically improve driving experience. Could this be something we see with our games in the next three decades?
7. Face scanning putting YOU in the game
While putting your face on a character in a game is not new, it’s not done to the level that gamers expect to see within 30 years.
A common theme was to be immersed in the game, with one gamer stating, ‘I want to see me in the game.’ With the ability to customise characters and graphics becoming more true to life, this isn’t an unrealistic request.
Researchers at the University of Southern California have started to do this, looking into ways individual people can scan their own faces and bodies and upload their features into a simulation, as a personal avatar. The question is, how accessible is this going to be and what cost?
8. Realistic elements including wind fans and water jets
Another feature reflecting the want for more realistic elements for VR is the ability to feel wind and rain for the utmost, realistic experience. One comment was ‘it will be really like stepping through a portal into another world’.
So, wind fans and water jets seem a realistic feature for VR in the future. But just how far will it go? One gamer suggested a ‘wetsuit which has sensors so you can feel wind and touch elements.’
A study by the National University of Singapore researched and developed a new accessory, Ambiotherm, that adds atmosphere to VR, with results showing it significantly improved sensory and realism factors for users and heightened the gaming experience.
9. Tactile monitors to improve game experience
While VR accessories and improvements are, overwhelmingly, the features gamers want to see, VR hasn’t completely erased the love for monitors.
These monitors will improve precision in games and also mean your moves are far more instinctive due to not searching for controls. So, in 30 years time, you and your game character could be one and the same.
10. Matrix-level technology
In response to The Matrix Awakens tech demo, showing the power of Unreal Engine 5, gamers said they’d like to see Matrix-level technology within their games in 30 years.
The Matrix Awakens gave us a glimpse into games in the future, showing ultra-realistic graphics, reuniting Neo and Trinity and breaking the fourth wall.
Unreal Engine 5 might just be the start of this ‘matrix-level technology’ that the gamers are desperate to see by 2050.
It makes us wonder, if this is what gamers would like to see become commonplace within their video games in 30 years time, what will we see in the bingo industry in 2050?
tombola surveyed 50 regular gamers for in-depth responses, and asked them:
- What features would you like to see in games consoles/video games in 30 years’ time?
The visuals are based on the key, common features that gamers would like to see become more commonplace in games by 2050.