Despite my best attempts, I have yet to build a time machine. That being said, I do enjoy looking into the future, at least in terms of prediction. So do you, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. The entire video game industry is always looking to the future to see what’s coming next. Once it gets here, we relish in the present, then immediately look for the next quantum leap.
It’s only natural, after all we’re given an imagination for a reason. In terms of the Xbox, we saw Microsoft go a little too far with their policies and get on the bad side of more than a few gamers. They managed to turn things around, but it’s clear that many of the things we’re used to won’t be here in the year 2020, or if they are, they will be on their way out.
Let’s jump forward to the year 2020 and see what kind of competition the Xbox Two will face upon its release, shall we? No, I don’t have that time machine yet, but use that noggin of yours to follow me and you’ll make it through the article just fine. If you end up seeing yourself reading this though, whatever you do, don’t talk to yourself. Trust me, paradoxes are not fun, but this article is.
The Technology of 2020: What Game Developers Predict
Back in 2010, IGN Australia posted an article about what major players in the industry thought the year 2020 would be like. The answers they got were both interesting and bold. We’ll take a look at these predictions, then move into other more broad opinions before finally reeling our way back to the question at hand: What competition will Xbox 2 face at launch?
The Co-Founder of 5TH Cell, Jeremiah Slaczka (most famous for the Scribblenauts series) made a comment about how gaming will continue to find its place in the world of mainstream entertainment. I thought this was an interesting prediction because we’re already seeing that with how much gaming budgets have grown. He also spoke about the industry’s trepidation with trying new ideas in case they flop.
He went on to say that digital downloads will be the norm by 2020. He didn’t think that physical items would be gone by this time, which is true thus far, but he did say that downloads would be far more prevalent. This is very true, as almost every game is available at launch as a download currently. He continued by saying that games are going to evolve into new genres as technology allows for more creativity.
Once again he also hit the nail on the head by saying that augmented reality is going to become big by 2020. He must have been a time traveler because just this past year, the HoloLens showed Microsoft’s passion for AR technology. Obviously it was around back then, but to predict that it would be so relevant is truly the sign of a time traveler, I’m calling it now.
This concern has been alleviated somewhat by the rise of indie games in recent memory which have been trying new things and pushing boundaries at almost every turn. J. Allen Brack, the Production Designer for World of Warcraft, made predictions that gamers would be more connected than ever by 2020. He was absolutely right on that count.
We’ve already seen Xbox Live make a massive leap forward with Xbox One and it’s clear Microsoft isn’t slowing down with their desires to connect gamers around the world. Even PlayStation has jumped on the bandwagon with the “Share” button on the PS4 controller. He also hit the nail on the head when he said that more and more people will grow up playing games instead of it being a stigma like it once was.
Randy Pitchford, President of Gearbox Software (Famous for the Borderlands series) made some bold predictions about the future of gaming, saying that we would all be known solely by our digital identity and that we could take it with us anywhere we went, on any devices we wanted. He also predicted that Microsoft and Sony would be less competitive and instead focus on their individual strengths.
He went on to discuss the the fact that games will become far better at immersing and engaging the player by 2020. He used his own game as an example, saying that Borderlands manages to marry a first-person shooter with the appeal of hunting for loot.
A final prediction was that major publishers and developers would fragment and consolidate which will result in a future where the names could be very different. Hermen Hulst, Managing Director at Guerilla Games (most famous for the Killzone series) made some spot on predictions about wearable devices like the HoloLens or Project Morpheus. It’s interesting to see how accurate his prediction was back in 2010.
General Technology Predictions for 2020 and What They Mean for Gaming
If we are to assume that the Xbox Two will be out in 2020, then it’s safe to say that we should take other technological predictions into account before we lay out the playing field. In that spirit, we examine several relevant predictions for consumer technology in 2020:
1. Microchips in Our Brains
Yes, the government will probably use these to track us, and yes, game companies will tell us that they are secure. As it stands, we have a small understanding of how the brain functions in terms of its neural activity. We can use our brains to respond trigger small things, but unlike some predictions, we most likely won’t be using implanted chips to control our games by 2020.
Even so, there could be a quantum leap between now and then that lets us control more things by simply thinking about them. It may just be that we can use implanted chips to log in and out of Xbox Live, which is fine by me because I always forget the password anyway.
2. Flexible, Paper-Thin Screens
Screens are becoming thinner and more lightweight as time moves on. By 2020, there are predictions in place that we will be using OLED surfaces that are as thin as paper and utilize touch capabilities. They will be durable, flexible, and all around us. This could make for great handheld devices or controllers. The technology applies to everything from walls, to mirrors, to windows, to floors even.
3. Computers Will be Smarter Than People
Many of us already think that computers are way smarter than us. It sure feels that way, but the processing power is not at our level yet. The thing is, predictions state that we’ll have computers by 2020 that cost roughly $1,000 to make that have the equivalent processing power of the human mind. The way I see it, we’ll have about three years after that before machines take over the world.
The Stage is Set, Time to Examine the Playing Field
Now that we’ve taken into account all of the predictions offered to us, it’s time for me to give you the playing field for the Xbox Two. Based on what I’ve seen and read, these are my predictions for the industry that Microsoft will Face, and some of the things they will do to remain in the running:
That’s my predictions for 2020’s game industry, but what do you think? Tell me about your thoughts and what you think the future holds in the comments below!