The Next Innovation in Gaming




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  1. #1
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    The Next Innovation in Gaming

    As we all know, the gaming industry from time to time goes through a tremendous revolution or innovation that turns the industry on it's ear. For example, Magic: The Gathering. With a new approach to playing card games with it's own unique background, and style of play it nearly single-handedly jump started an industry of collectible card games, spawned a host of copycats and was even granted a patent on style of play (a first if I recall correctly). Another example would be the OGL and the SRD. With it's open approach to it's content the gaming scene exploded wide open for 3rd party publishers to share in the wealth that was the D20 bubble. Nearly everyone and their dog had PDF of some niche product. Again this was a revolution of sorts in that the OGL allowed others to use the intellectual property of another, adding to the depth (and at times bloat) of a much beloved system.

    So my question is simple. What if any will be the next innovation or revolution in our beloved hobby? Does anyone have a glimpse or an idea on what will spur the industry into a new and exiting direction?
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    If innovation were predictable, it wouldn't be really innovative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    If innovation were predictable, it wouldn't be really innovative.
    Indeed. I don't think many people could have predicted the explosion of CCGs before Magic: The Gathering was released, or the explosion of d20 games before the announcement of the OGL... or, for that matter, the explosion of RPGs before the publication of OD&D.

    To be fair, in all those cases, there was a period between the release of the explosive new thing and the actual explosion, during which a savvy observer could have said, "Hey, guys, this is gonna be HUGE." So if we're in that period right now, someone may spot it and call it. Otherwise, though, I think the next big thing is going to be another bolt from the blue that nobody sees coming.

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  • #4
    I agree, but if there was one place I can see getting much bigger, at least for D&D is the shift towards an electronic/tech platform.

    We're starting to see this in the Compendium, the Character Builder and Monster Builder. We're starting to see apps for laptops (which are getting smaller, cheaper and easier to use at the table). We're starting to see apps for the iPhone.

    E-Book readers are starting to hit the mainstream...can you imagine having all your D&D books in a tablet? Then imagine having them automatically able to update given any errata WotC puts out?

    Heck while we're at it, Apple is rumored to be developing a tablet-sized eBook reader or iPod.

    Then we'll hopefully start to see the return of the Game Table.
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    I traveled to the future and I got a glimpse of what is coming next, so brace yourselves: Pogs. Yeah, pogs are coming back big time, but now with miniaturized holographic projectors that crate a 3d holographic images that render miniatures obsolete.

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  • #7
    All digital. You'll get your "books" via the internet, probably via subscription. WOTC is practically there. They just need to offer the fluff. Others will follow suit as soon as someone writes the software that allows small-time publishers play the game as well (like RPG.net). Tablets are coming. The form factor makes them perfect for the content delivery. (No complaining from the won't read a screen crowd. You are nearly extinct dinosaurs.)

    The big question will be where the level of interaction settles. Will your digital character sheet do all the in-game math for you? Will it roll the virtual dice? If it's truly about a character and roleplaying will the background mechanics really matter so much that you care that a computer is running the numbers?

    I don't think surface tables will hit the scene any time soon. We need better/cheaper hardware. My group runs a map grid on a 52" TV though, so there's precedent for a shared display being useful. The future will be trying to find where the sweet spot is regarding physical component interaction.

    You can play chess on a screen, but do you want to if the opponent is in the same room? For DnD, screens work great. For other games, maybe not. Hobby games are already a niche because they've held fast to tradition while video games have risen. Then again there's the shift in boardgames from wooden to plastic pieces, so innovation isn't dead.

    But really, I think the hobby as-is will always be niche and shrink as the next generation MMOs cater to a wider audience and offer the sorts of play choices that PnP RPGs currently have. Once you can tell the same stories via holodeck, why go back?

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    More than just e-books and wikis

    I think that e-books and wikis are just a middle step and that the next big innovation will be more than that. The thing I have found frustrating in running and playing a game is that I have to reference so many books and getting to information I need immediately is not easy. I run a game in the Iron Kingdoms from Privateer Press, and there are three RPG books and a few years worth of magazines that contain material. Even in a PDF form, it would be burdensome to track down what the save DC is for a particular alchemical poison - was it in the World book, a magazine, or did I find that online?

    To me the next innovation will make using all these electronic resources available easier to use as well as more powerful.

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    Once enough useful gadgets are developed for the google wave I think it will see a lot of use.
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    Combination of iPhone/iBook where the physical books just aren't needed or used anymore. The books on the device aren't even necessarily books with full hyper links, video images for training, ability to handle combat, interact with tables for terrain, etc...

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