Envisioning Technology, a trend forecaster, has created a visualisation of the future of technology, offering predictions for when we can expect various new developments, from robot manservants to retinal huds, to appear. Though it covers the gamut, a broad cross-section directly affects videogames, so here’s a tour of what shape we can expect games to take over the next 20 years.
We can apparently expect games to properly process voice commands in two years. What does that say about Kinect 2’s capabilities? If it comes out next year, perhaps it’s a little premature – particularly as machine vision is due in 2019. As for natural language interpretation, that’s due in 2016.
Around the same time, charging smartphones every day will become redundant as fuel cells are introduced, meaning we’ll be refuelling them, instead. Games will be able to make up their own levels and stories using algorithms at the end of this decade, so perhaps that’s the end for DLC and episodic narrative sequels. Or perhaps they’ll simply add more variables into the mix.
Next decade, the visualisation predicts, we can expect reprogrammable chips, which will be able to upgrade themselves as they improve, marking the end of the hardware cycle as we currently know it. For those who’ve left Earth by this time to live on other planets, interplanetary internet will also appear in the mid-2020s, though we suspect the lag will be horrendous.
Emerging around the same time will be virtual reality lifeforms, AI characters who essentially live within the game to offer rich interactions – David Cage should be all over this one. Come on, David. As for fully immersive virtual reality, delivered directly through brain stimulation, that’s due in the early 2030s. If you don’t fancy your gaming so enveloping, you can instead opt for retina-embedded screens, which will emerge around the same time. For those who aren’t into physically invasive technology, holography’s due in the early 2020s.
The visualisation also forecasts statistics of world population growth and technological standards development. For instance, in 2019, it proposes that the standard computer will sport a 200TB hard disk and 750GB of RAM, and the global online population will be 4-5 billion people, using 30-50 billion total connected devices.
In the mid-2020s, we can expect $1000 computer to reach the capacity of the human brain, though we weren’t aware that silicon and brain tissue were that easy to compare. And by 2030, with the world population somewhere between 8 and 9 billion people, the internet speed standard will have reached a terabit.
It seems a fairly comprehensive overview, but is there anything missing? And is there anything we wish technology would broach when it comes to the future of videogames?