Making predictions about the future is as useful as a chocolate teapot. Entertaining, surely, but useless. Countless anecdotal examples easily found on the web seem to prove my point.
Having said that, many things that once might have sounded ridiculous, will eventually materialise and become hugely successful. Self-driving cars, for example, might be the norm in a not so distant future and you don’t want to be unprepared.
Interestingly, there’s also a phenomenon called nostalgia that pops up every now and then. Things that were ‘cool’ once, then became obsolete and many years, if not decades later regain (some of) their popularity. Think vinyl records and turntables. Or old games.
Nostalgia was probably also on the minds of Nintendo execs when they decided to launch the NES Mini in late 2016 and now the SNES Mini later this year. Needless to say, the NES Mini sold out in a heartbeat and has since become a collector’s item. The SNES Mini looks to repeat the success.
What about the future of gaming? That may lie in virtual reality gaming. Virtual reality, or VR, promises an immersive gaming experience by allowing the gamer to interact with the game in a three-dimensional environment. It’s come a long way since 2012 when the first VR product – the Oculus Rift – appeared on Kickstarter, but it’s still not quite there yet. However, things appear to be moving in the right direction and there are opinions that VR might help the gaming industry to enter into another golden age.
Another fancy term – augmented reality, or AR – is the second contender in the fight to become the next best thing. AR and VR are not the same, although they have some similarities. In short, AR is a technology in which computer generated elements are superimposed on real-world elements. Pokémon Go already gave us a glimpse of what is possible, but there are many other examples.
Will VR finally overcome it’s limitations and lead the drive towards more innovation in gaming? Or will it be AR that manages to win that battle? Or maybe it will be something totally different, something that is yet to emerge? It’s hard to tell. After all, I’m still waiting for the nuclear powered vacuum cleaners, flying firemen and deep sea cities.