Friday, 24 December 2004

Could this laser projector be the next paradigm shift in viewing technology? Projection without hot, delicate, power-hungry lamps and heavy lenses... great for HUDs and portable devices. How long until we see the video PIM bracelet?

For next year, though, I think portable gaming devices will be the ipods of 2005. With Nintendo DS already in the States, Sony's baby playstation, the PSP, out in Japan, and Europe's own Gizmondo heading to the States soon, all with 3d graphics and wireless capabilities, there will be plenty for consumers to choose from, and for prospecting developers to work on.

Speaking to friends and colleagues of similar age to me about computer games, they really fall into three camps: those who have always been gamers of one sort or another, be it rubics cubes or Halo 2 online, those who were (re)introduced to gaming by the playstation and are enjoying the party aspects of it and possibly the online aspect. Finally there are the skeptics, who see computer games as something to have grown out of, either because they are inadequate challenges to the intellect because they are just machines, or because their lives are too busy to spend playing games with/against a machine.

Let's face it, for years computer games, even more than computing itself, had been the refuge of the self-absorbed, or the social misfits, or simply the misunderstood gaming addicts. Then came online gaming, which transformed it into a truly competitive, social, teambuilding activity. Some games, like Grand Theft Auto, even made gaming cool. But not mainstream.

What these portable devices will bring is the power and splendor of modern online gaming: the amazing graphics and sound, the absorbing gameplay, and most importantly the person to person competition - it's virtually a sport in some countries - to the skeptics. It's LAN parties for non-nerds. Adhoc, interactive, challenging, social, and, most importantly, anywhere. There: my prediction of the truly global phenomenon of 2005.
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