I am shown new things in the video game business all the time, and love the portal into the future of fun that these demonstrations provide. While some innovations that I see are covered under non-disclosure agreements, I can talk about many that are not. Here are four trends that I find intriguing:
1. Gesture technology is one development that I particularly like. Several camera technologies sample where a gamer's arms, hands, head, body, and legs are in space, and render movements and actions accordingly. This gives a player the ability to "be in the game." The same technology could also be used to create systems that allow for the elimination of a game console or a TV remote control. A viewer might just hold out his hand and, with a few gestures, change the channel or raise the volume.
2. The musician wannabe market continues to attract innovators eager to develop the next Rockband, Guitar Hero, or Dance Dance Revolution. Consumers are ready to devour more intense experiences and new artists now see the value of incorporating their original music into these gaming platforms.
3. Virtual worlds. I am happy to see that there is some game play that does not rely on the slash, slash, level-up metric, which I find boring. I find that virtual worlds are getting richer and more interesting all the time.
4. Micropayment systems. The ability to spend a few pennies or nickels on virtual goods or "passage to the island" is helping to create a new economic model for games. I am on the board of a Seattle-based company called Reality Gap that has developed a cool new technology called MetaTix, which has created a payment system for online games that calls to mind the tokens that gamers use at Chuck E. Cheese. Over time, a new micropayment system like Reality Gap could replace credit cards as the currency of choice for online gaming; credit cards, in my opinion, are great for purchases of $10 to $20, but they are horrible for things costing a nickel.
These are a few interesting developments in my field. I will keep you posted on other new stuff as it comes up.
Last updated: Jul 17, 2009
Veteran entrepreneur NOLAN BUSHNELL is the founder Atari, Chuck E. Cheese, Etak, ByVideo, Axlon, and uWink. Among his accomplishments, Bushnell invented Pong, hired Steve Jobs, and developed a series of robots. He lives in California. @NolanBushnell