Some thoughts on the Future of Gaming

This evening I attend a session of the Club of Amsterdam with the theme ‘The Future of Gaming‘. An interesting theme because the principles of gaming are much related to appealing interaction for online services in general and social systems in particular.

The best events triggers your thoughts – a step further than learning stuff – and the Club of Amsterdam events have always this potential. This time a couple of the speakers sure did. As an experiment I will not write an extensive review, but elaborate a bit on the thoughts and notes I shared during the talk via my twitter stream.

Kars Alfrink kicks off with some rather theoretical thoughts on the future role of urban play. In his particular type of manner, with a lot of reference to other great thinkers. It sure triggers some thoughts.

Tweet: trend 1: the realtime city. trend 2 urban gaming. You can figure the connection.
The two trends connect to each other. Think of the people living the city as playing a urban game. People interact, react on each other. A city never stands still, is shaped with the activities that take place, in real time. More and more. Of course it is interesting to think how this will relate to the history of city, the heritage. What is defining a city more: the years of activities in the past or the things that take place now in real time.

Tweet: games can be used to read the city. Frictions defines structure
In a way an extension of the former one. To understand the city you need to find the real character. This can be find in the ‘frictions’ you walk into when you ‘use’ the city. Urban games are a great way to facilitate and stimulate the use of a city.

Next off is Jeroen Elfferich talking about crossplatform and social gaming.

Tweet: the console game is dead. the game in the cloud?
The conclusion of the game in the cloud was given later in the talk, my association with the image and statement did me also conclude this on that moment. And it is surely a logical step: the game in the cloud. He refers to the disappearing of machines like the XBox and Wii, the controls are still needed. You can think further about the business models behind. Do you have to buy the controls or do you buy entrance to a game with whatever control you like.

Tweet: the social network as distriution network for games
Jeroen connects the games to the social object theory of Jyri Engestrom. The social networks and games are highly related. The social aspect of a game is essential for success.

Tweet: games are turning us again in active humans (in stead of coach patatoes)
A nice reflections on the way we transform in behavior. Where we were active humans in our free time, in the era of the TV we grew into passive couch patatoes. With the entrance of games as mainstream entertainment systems we will be active humans again.

Ellen de Lange-Ros talks about the essence of gaming in the learning of tools for life. Gaming is not a bad thing but a must do. Tweet 6.

David Nieborg tries to poke into the positive future visions with his talk “More of the same? – The future implications of a game industry oligopoly”. The distance between creativity and capital will lead to bigger players vs independent ones.

Last speaker is GAF van Baalen, talking on serious gaming.

Tweet: the power of games is that you can see the world inside out and act from that prospective
Something you can easily connect to the next Tweet: you need games to have people that can adapt to change
Don’t you need another prospective to be able to think of change?

And from the beginning of the discussion part one Tweet: a simulation is not a game because the start with reality in stead of escaping. but is reality not a game too or the other way around
I think it a nice phrase. But in a world where gaming and real life more and more morphs it sounds strange to distinguish those to in this manner.

In the end this Club of Amsterdam session had a strong program and brought some stuff to think some further.

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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