If you've followed many of my past posts on Direct2Dell, you know that I have a passion for virtual worlds and the opportunities I think they present for online interactions. So, it only make sense that I attended Corey Bridges panel yesterday on The Future of Virtual World & Game Development. Corey has quite a background from Netscape to Netflix and now Multiverse. He's also co-founder of the Metaverse Roadmap project.
Too often when people speak at conferences you feel like you are listening to a commercial for their company or service, but luckily that was not the case with this panel. Instead, he took a high-level view at how the gaming industry is facing the same impact from independent producers that mainstream media is seeing. New technologies are putting production and distribution in the people's hands. In his words, game developers are dead, they just don't know it yet.
From the compost of that dead video game industry, however, he predicts the rise of a beautiful garden (his metaphor). There will be new genres of games for different consumers – not just hardcore gamers. There will be smarter games for smaller market segments – those who aren't hardcore, but want more than "mainstream dreck".
He also see more blurring between games, virtual worlds and social networking. As the new medium of virtual worlds is discovered by more people, and gameplay becomes "de-stigmatized" through the use of game systems for business purposes (training, collaboration), Corey predicts flourishing growth of indie development studios and a consolidation of the bigger publishers. Some say play is already how we principally learn and principally create, so fully emergent games is where we want to go.
The benefit of it all for the rest of us? Corey says it's better design, fewer publishers, more millionaires. Hmm…I guess by the rest of us he meant those who are building games and virtual worlds…