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The ghost of Christmas past...

I’ve been given the MCV golden chalice to step in as editor in these final days before Christmas, and I guess I should glance over my shoulder into the past on the eve of a new decade, and try to predict the future. It’s the dawn of 2010, so I need to give Arthur C. Clarke a proper run for his money.

The past ten years have been exciting, aspirational – and surprising. Today, it’s almost impossible to imagine life without the internet. To be able to work, socialise and play instantly and globally is considered a right, not a privilege. Playing, despite the forces that believe gaming is something to be suspicious of, has become a unifying rather than an isolating force in society – be that with friends (virtual or otherwise) or family.

And this acceptance of what was once inconceivable is part of all our lives. Gaming is now a real mainstream force that sits comfortably beside film and music.

With this in mind, what do we all want for Xmas this year? My dream is for a hi-tech device that consumers across the globe crave. But I’m not talking about a robot to do all my chores, or a copy of a game that meets all my first person shooter needs. I need to track down a robotic pet.

This Christmas’ must-have might be a toy hamster (I need to find a Mr Squiggles for my kids or I’m toast) but it’s symptomatic of the place that modern forms of entertainment have in our lives – and the delightful unexpectedness of this year’s perfect present, which is more likely to be a game or a gadget than ever before.

Other surprises that this decade has brought? The ever-changing evolution of the traditional joypad, the belief that wearing dorky glasses to a film and seeing it spring out of the screen in glorious 3D could be cool, and checking your mates’ status update and ‘tweets’ to hear that “today I ate soup for lunch” is of interest.

So at the end of decade we’re all asked to sum up a thing or two. And the next ten years? God knows. Looking at where we are now I can’t imagine where we’ll be by the time 2020 rolls around.

The only thing that I’d predict is that I’ll be surprised. Hamster or not.

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