Over the years, board games and gaming in general has continued to evolve dramatically. From their humble beginnings, board games have become more detailed, complex and engaging.
Since the digital world first start flexing its gaming muscles, gamers have had the option of playing in one of two camps: board games or video games.
As we all know the video game industry has come on leaps and bounds over the last 20 years. As computer processors have become more powerful and affordable – more and more people own a device that is capable of playing some sort of high quality game. No longer do you need to own a high spec PC or up to date games console – a smart phone or tablet will do the job just as well.
While board games have also developed during the same time span – they haven’t progressed at the same rate, and to be honest, have been forgotten by the masses.
This new found preference to the digital game comes down partly to the instant gratification that you get from simply tapping an app icon & getting a fix. A board game requires effort to get the box out, set the game up, possibly sit around a table & be ‘organised’.
So where does the gaming world go from here?
Given the worldwide adoption of smartphones & the rate at which the technology is still advancing I think there are still some exciting developments still to come.
Some forms of technology are still working their way through to the mainstream that could potentially be ‘game changers’ for game designers and players alike.
One of these is NFC or Near Field Communication to give it its full title. NFC allows a device to connect to something else wirelessly – the most common use of this at the moment is to trigger your smartphone to behave in a particular way when it is swiped over a NFC device.
There have been, however, some other uses for NFC that you may not be aware of. One of these is in a series of video games called Skylanders. Skylanders manages to combine a collectable character in your hands, appear on screen to be played with as your in game character. From a marketing point of view this is genius – you have to buy actual collectable characters in order to play with them as well as having to buy the game to play. One of the games also allowed you to combine the parts of different characters to create entirely new characters and play with them on screen.
This combination of a game element physically in front of you and some of it on screen is an exciting one. Currently, Skylanders is definitely aimed at the younger market – particularly as its latest incarnation is being released only on tablets (no games consoles).
Now if some forward thinking development team would take this approach and apply it to a more grown up fantasy role playing style of game, I think more of us would get excited. The potential market for a high quality collectable & configurable character that you can keep on your shelf, then dust of and play with on screen in some sort of Skyrim style awesomeness would truly be something to behold!
If you also consider that we are about to see new life breathed into the virtual reality market with the likes of Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus going head to head to become the new standard. If this was also flung into the mix you could have a truly immersive gaming experience that combines a real world element and puts you in the middle of the action with that character.
The next generation of gaming will be an interesting one – we will see more ideas starting to come through. It may be a time before they filter down through the market place and become truly affordable. But when that happens – we will see some amazing new generations of game come out…exciting times!