In terms of technology, 10 years is more like 100 years when it comes to innovation. Technology changes at such an incredible speed it can be extremely difficult to play catch up. When that technology relate to gaming, the biggest draw is how “good” the game looks. The graphics, lighting, animation, character models, all those elements are what can really sell a game to the general public. In 10 years, people won’t be able to tell the difference between Avatar 3 and The Elder Scrolls VII. The player will literally feel like they are playing an actual film. In fact, there will be a disclaimer in ads that have to let the viewer know that the footage they just saw was from an actual videogame and not a film.
Video games have always been about gameplay. People may think that the art style or story of a game is what draws them to play it. It’s not; the gameplay is why people love videogames. This is still true today but more and more people seem to enjoy the visual style more than anything else. As videogames start to become more “artsy” their visuals seem to get a massive upgrade. A perfect example of this is comparing a console release game with a recent release. Call of Duty 2 was released on the Xbox 360 at launch back in 2005. It became a massive hit, it was the must have game for the Xbox 360 at the time. If you compare that game to a fairly recent game like Crysis 2, the differences are astronomical. Both of these games are playable on the Xbox 360, yet Crysis 2 looks like a much more realistic game than Call of Duty 2. In six years developers were able to harness the ability of the Xbox 360 and make a phenomenal looking game like Crysis 2.
Video games are usually talked about if they actually look real. Realism is something that almost every game developer strives for. Some people think that the more realistic the game is the better it will be. The thing is, realism is more of an art than anything. Since everything is created by an artist in the videogame world, realism is no different. What makes realism special in videogames is that it’s an interpretation of realism by an actual person. We see “reality” everyday in our lives. We actually take it for granted. When someone has to create a reality inside a videogame it can be extremely difficult. This is why as technology evolves it will become easier. When computers are able to process tasks faster it gives the artist more room to work with. Since reality can have almost infinite possibilities, the artist needs every tool at his disposal to be working at its peak. This of course, comes at a very high cost.
Technology is rarely cheap. When videogame developers design games, technology is key factor in determining what they can actually do with their talents and ideas. It’s also the only thing holding them back. As the years go on technology will of course evolve, but it will also become cheaper as new technology is introduced to the gaming industry. This will give more studios a chance at developing more games at an affordable price with a good piece of technology. Only those large companies like EA and Activision will truly be able to use technology that will push the look of realism in videogames.
This of course is just an opinion. But players rarely complaining about a game looking too good. This is why so much work is put into the art development and graphics software in the development of a game. In the next decade this really won’t change. Developers will always focus on gameplay first but graphics and realism will always be a close second. The goal is to match the realism that is seen in films. If a company can make a game that plays and looks like a movie, the gaming world will forever be changed. This can be achieved but it will take years of development and dedicated by videogame developers across the world. In the end though, this is something that can only be known when that day comes. It probably won’t cause uproar in the gaming community unless gameplay was somehow affected because of the look of the game. Time, will of course, only tell.