With the next generation of consoles on its way, everyone is focused on the future of gaming. There's no doubt that gaming has changed massively over the years and the signs of more change are pretty clear to see.
The rise of digital distribution is perhaps one of the biggest changes. On PCs it is one that has already occurred with the rise of services such as Steam and Origin, and the consoles themselves are beginning to catch up with their download services. Cloud based gaming is also on the rise, with Sony's recent purchase of Gaikai a clear indication that the console industry is keen to keep up with any and all major developments.
Smartphone and tablet based gaming has also risen to a good position. Though it has not exactly usurped handheld and console gaming, it has had a notable impact on the industry and widened the appeal of gaming into the casual market. Free to play, a model that is very popular on smartphones and tablets, has also made its mark. Already a popular model on the PC, it is now making its way to consoles in the shape of games such as Dust 514.
There is even the question of whether consoles and games will exist physically in the future. With cloud based services being integrated into the console world and download based distribution becoming ever more popular there may not be the need for new hardware to be distributed and disc based gaming will likely bite the dust.
Of course all of this is years away, it relies too heavily on Internet connections or on models that console developers are still relatively unfamiliar with, but in ten years, most if not all of these aspects of gaming will be what we know as normal.
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