We gamers are constantly wanting new experiences. Thankfully, game dev's and platform holders have continually been thinking up different ways in which to entertain us. Over the last twelve years we’ve seen games focus more on technology by improving AI, physics, increasing graphical fidelity, and delivering more natural animation. More recently, new game experiences have been delivered by motion interaction controllers such as the Wii, Wii U, PS Move and the 360's Kinect, also bringing with them a new audience.
One craze that everyone thought to deliver new levels of game immersion was 3D, with Nintendo’s 3DS and Sony's 3D tv's. So far, the 3DS' take on stereoscopic 3D hasn't and 3D all together seems to be in decline. Even more recently is the thought of virtual reality with the Oculus Rift. However, what has been successful is social gaming, which has risen dramatically in popularity in just the last few years. It seems that what was missing from new game experiences was not technical innovation, but rather connecting with other people.
The PlayStation 4 in February announced a ton of new features most about having a great social experience. Even going so far as adding a Share Button on their controller, to stay connected with all your friends. Also having the ability to post your gameplay online to Ustream and being able to share your game with your friend and having them control your game to help you if you get stuck.
Now the Xbox 360 has always been in my eyes the "Social Console" to me. I always get multiplayer focused games for my 360 because I know I'll have more friends on that console then others. With features like the party system, being able to talk to your friends no matter what they are doing. Later this month Microsoft will announce their next console. As it seems the hottest trend is being a social butterfly, I expect Microsoft to bring up facebook, twitter, apps, and possibly twitch support to match PS4's ustream announcement in their conference.
Whether you laughed at facebook games in the past or are playing games like Letterpress with your friends, the future looks to be focused heavily on a social gaming experience.
- E. Silva, ThreeRoneC