The big guy on the next big thing
The game industry and gamers alike are never satisfied. There’s always a push to create the next big thing, be it through gaming innovations, tech, or marriage of the two. How does the game industry get to that point? Reggie Fils-Aimé has a few ideas.
In an interview with Games Industry, Reggie opened up about how he thinks gaming could move forward. His answers looked to both the game mechanics and tech side of things.
“For example, what if the narrative magic of a game like The Last Of Us is leveraged with the best in current AI and machine learning, so that the end result was a narrative-driven but completely open-world type of experience where you’re blending genres and creating something very, very different? My hope is that’s the type of content, as an example, that’s pursued.
Another harebrained idea is how to create something that is, as a game, persistent. As a player you would have a wide range of approaches or adventures you can do in the game, but because it’s persistent I’m able to stumble across what you’ve done in your exploration of the area and that leads me to have a different experience than you had when you were first in that part of the game.
My hope is that it’s some of these types of initiatives that will fuel the ongoing creativity that this industry has had, and enables us to continue having new and unique experiences that you can’t have on a smart device.”
This discussion led to the topic of game companies chasing tech that doesn’t seem to pan out. Companies have tried to make VR and cloud gaming the next big thing, but there’s still a long way to go in those areas. There’s also companies pushing forward into the metaverse and blockchain, and they think those sectors could make for big changes in gaming. Reggie Fils-Aimé also shared some thoughts on this point of discussion.
“So from my perspective, the issues are these: first, you need a really good technical platform to build this one. Many of these companies have tried or are building their own tech platform to bring these to life and that’s incredibly difficult to do. I suspect part of the reason they do that is they don’t want to be beholden to someone else’s platform or tech when they’re trying to build out their vision, but many of these companies go down this path and it’s incredibly difficult and financially draining to do. That’s the first hurdle.
The second hurdle is that the gameplay itself needs to be compelling. There needs to be more to the idea than I’ve stumbled upon someone else’s footprints or their ship on an alien planet. From the content I’ve seen, that’s where it falls short – the core experience is just not up to snuff compared to what great games offer from an experience or storytelling standpoint… I’m optimistic, but it’s incredibly hard to do.
I remember the GDC where Satoru Iwata made comments about free-to-play games and how he saw they were a significant danger for the industry, and yet here we are today where there are great quality free-to-play games. There are in-game monetisation loops that fans are… maybe no one’s ever happy to spend money on content, but they don’t mind spending money for outfits and things of that nature and they get enjoyment from that.
There are times as industries are going through change that there are divisive elements. [And] because the underlying technology isn’t completely proven or sorted, there are scams and bad actors taking advantage of the situation. I’m old enough to remember the earliest days of the internet and the scams and issues.
So I understand the divisiveness, I really do, and certainly the environmental elements – this is something that has to be solved. And not all blockchain is so environmentally disruptive… Certainly, there’s a lot to be proven out and the massive loss in value of different platforms in the blockchain environment that we’ve seen over the past few weeks tells you this technology is still immature. But in my mind that’s not a reason to just completely push it aside and say it can never be anything of substance or value.
…I’ve said myself that there needs to be a use case where you’ve got a really fun, creative experience that leverages the technology for people to come around. The ‘what if?’ that I give you is what if there was an experience that blended the best of Pokémon with the best of five other genres or game experiences, and all of them had this ability for you to play and create your own character, and then exchange them with someone else and get something of value back. Now it goes beyond a singular game or experience, it touches on a variety of interesting experiences and that gets interesting and compelling.”