How accurate were 2009’s gaming predictions?

How accurate were 2009’s gaming predictions?


It’s human nature to look to the future
and ponder what awaits us in the unknown ether of time. And that’s just what a bunch of video game experts did way back in 2009. Some managed to paint a pretty
accurate picture of what the future would look like. Others, like me
predicting I’d have a hard-light hologram of Elliott from Stardew Valley
by 2020 where sadly off the mark. Here are three totally wrong predictions,
three relatively accurate predictions, and three things nobody saw coming. All of these predictions came from video game journalists and people within the industry, so I can assure you that they are in earnest. But I haven’t included citations for any of them because it doesn’t really seem fair to dunk on
people for not being able to guess the future Except for Cassandra of Troy, but
her predictions are like so off-base, what an idiot. By now, graphics were supposed to be so accurate they would be hard to discern from reality. When you consider the leap in graphics between 2000 and 2009, it’s easy to appreciate
just why you’d think total realism was inevitable. Graphics are definitely more
real-ish than they were 10 years ago, and real-time ray tracing is going to make
water and mirrors look way better… in the NEXT decade. But at a certain point you
have to hone incredibly minute details to be able to ramp over the uncanny valley.
And it’s mostly like weird stuff, like teeth shininess and eye whiteness and
making like… regular human expressions. Those who believed in this
verisimilitude wonder what emotional damage you’d experienced seeing,
something that looks exactly like you die. And I can tell you, having allowed a
partner to recreate my face in Dark Souls 3, and then having to deal with
seeing myself hollowed– It was fine. It’s not a big deal. I’m… I’m me. I’m not that character. It’s fine. Peter Molyneux: Science fiction writers, film makers: they haven’t imagined what we’re able to do today. These predictions were made after E3
2009, where Peter Molyneux gave birth to Project Milo, a super advanced
interactive AI experience. So lots of people anticipated that AI voices,
animations, and conversation skills would be SO natural, there would be no need for
voice actors or scripts. Finally, art made without the burden of human talent. Milo was supposed to inaugurate the era of motion interactive games and facial recognition, but instead he just sort of disappeared. The full-body motion controller that would become the Kinect had its moment, but decidedly did not
revolutionize gaming. There’s some doubt about whether Milo was ever really a
game or just a tech demo, and if it became part of Fable 2… or whatever. But he certainly didn’t eliminate the need for good old-fashioned game making. The past decade has seen bigger scripts, more voice acting, and better facial motion capture than ever before. Good news for those of us who never want to stop
listening to Mel Mahut’s voice. Kassandra (Melissanthi Mahut): You look cute right now. The Great Recession of the 2000s cast a pretty dark cloud over a lot of these
predictions. There is a general feeling that video games had peaked, the market
was saturated, growth would flatline, and major studios would shutter. And I probably don’t have to tell you that’s not really what happened. In 2008 games pulled in 12 billion dollars, which is not shabby. In 2018 that was up to 43.4 billion, which is even LESS shabby. Considering the 300 hours I’ve put into a little game called Stardew Valley, it’s been a great
investment of money, if not in time! In terms of relatively accurate predictions,
a surprising number of developers correctly forecasted the presence of
cloud-based streaming platforms. This was ahead of the launch of early streaming services like Onlive game service in 2010, and Gaikai in 2011, so that’s actually a pretty impressive guess. These services let you play games remotely, circumventing the need for an expensive gaming PC. All you need is an expensive internet connection! Both Onlive and Gaikai were bought by Sony ahead of the launch of PlayStation Now, but they demonstrated to the industry that this idea had legs. Cloud streaming hasn’t – and likely won’t – usurp full downloads, and
there is no single service that has dominated the market enough to become
essential. But between GeForce now, Steam Link, xCloud, and Google Stadia, there’s no denying it does have *A* place in the industry. Physical media is dead, long
live the download! Admittedly, the predictions here were a lot more dire than the reality. Forbes forecasted that all retail game
stores and boxed games would go the way of the Blockbuster. Physical sales of
games accounted for 80% of the market in 2009. By 2018, it was down to 17%. Gamestop is still operating, but
announced early in 2019 that it would be shuttering up to 200 stores. Which is not a great sign. As digital storefronts diversify, and subscription services
become more popular, there will be even less of a call to buy physical games. I
mean, at least until games are hit by their own Han-shot-first scandal to
remind people the upside of static media. Greedo: Maclunkey! The hazy concept and poorly latinized
word gamification first appeared in 2008, and people – especially people in the
industry who are looking for the next big thing – latched on to it immediately.
As such, there were lots of predictions about how the future would be cluttered
with meta games and badges and leveling and quantifiable scoring system and
built-in competition and all sorts of bullshit. Overt gamification elements are
less omnipresent now than they were in the mid-2010s, but they’re still out there.
If you’re on that Duolingo grind, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
LinkedIn is just gamified networking. Fitbit and the quest for 10,000 steps is
gamified exercising. Social media provides you with hard data about your popularity, and you can even cheat at it. It’s not that gamification is everywhere,
just that certain elements of gamification have become so common, we don’t perceive them as gamification anymore, for better or for worse. A Anyway if you like this video be sure to like and subscribe! [a horrified gasp of realization] The wild thing about linear time is that it makes it impossible to see the future. So
inevitably there will be some things that nobody saw coming. Like virtual
reality – it was a little more than a dream from the 90s, but then Palmer
Luckey designed the prototype for the Oculus Rift in 2010. Since then it’s been
a bit of a virtual roller coaster. Luckey kickstarted the project in 2012 for 2 million dollars, and everyone thought VR would be the next big thing.
Then he flipped it to Facebook for 2 billion dollars in 2014, much to the
consternation of people who forgot how capitalism works. For the mid-teens of
the decade, it languished with lots of potential but no real follow-through, just like me in my mid-teens. With equipment prices dropping and a game library with SUPERHOT and Beat Sabre, VR has justified its place in games, if not
in my tiny New York apartment. Then there’s esports. There was some
rumination about competitive gaming and game shows being a part of the future,
but nobody had any predictions about esports. It wasn’t that they didn’t exist –
esports were already huge in South Korea, and EVO dates back to 1996, when it was
called Battle by the Bay. But it wasn’t something the industry itself
necessarily held in high esteem. It wasn’t until the early 2010’s that the
esports e-ball started rolling, when a ton of popular modern esports games were
released. It’s about time. Although one or two experts suggested that there is room
for experimental games in the following decade, nobody foresaw what a huge part
of the industry indie games would become. The first rumblings came with Braid and
Castle Crashers in 2008, and then the scene exploded with the successes of
Super Meat Boy and Limbo in 2010. Crowdfunding meant individuals or small
studios could get funding for smaller projects, and digital distribution meant
you didn’t have to hand press disks in your basement to get your game out into
the world. Not to mention new tools and platforms made it simpler for independent creators to make and sell games. It’s easier than ever to make a
game, and harder than ever to get noticed. Those are the most notable predictions
from the last decade of gaming and I’d say my main takeaway is that you should
never think about or plan for the future, because all is unknowable. But here are my predictions for Stardew Valley in the next decade; first of all– Stardew Valley finally reflects my
personal preferences when it comes to romance by letting me marry multiple
people. Elliott and Maru! Get in my house! Stardew Valley… hot coffee mod I think is
really gonna upset a lot of people… ahh… not me Stardew Valley 2: Mountain Valley! … ….that’s nothing….


26 thoughts on “How accurate were 2009’s gaming predictions?

  1. your first mistake was listening to peter molyneux about the future.. the king of short delivery will disappoint you every time.

  2. Having married about half the characters on different farms, I can confirm that Maru and Eliot are the best, Jenna has great taste

  3. thank you jenny, that was a very informative and enjoyable video. now go make one with bdg. oh the knowledge that video would contain.

  4. Let’s not forget how video game technology has blended into other fields to benefit others like in medical, construction, architecture, etc!

  5. Gamification ended up ruining Duolingo for me. I found I was too stressed to beat other learners with my score than actually learning, basically grinding to get points. So I just said f* it and uninstalled it.

  6. This videos was released on December 19th and that’s how they’re treating VR? Really? With all major headsets sold out for Christmas and a massive backorder I file? Really? Wow. 2020 is literally going to be the “Year of VR” because of Oculus Quest. I have a feeling from this point forward VR will become a bigger and bigger part of the gaming industry.

  7. I, too, love the way romance works in stardew valley, and it is the vessel that gives me hope that someday I too can raise void chickens, marry a depressed recovering alcoholic and an artist who makes me sculptures. stardew valley is the peak of gaming and nothing will ever convince me otherwise.

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