Fifteen years ago, the games industry was a different beast entirely. Games were primarily sold through retail, Microsoft didn’t even have a console and the peak of mobile gaming was still Nokia’s take on Snake.
To say that a lot has changed is perhaps the understatement of the decade (and a half).
The big question is: what’s next?
Hopes are high for virtual reality, but the technology is still young. HoloLens and its ilk may drive augmented reality to new heights, but who knows what other technological advances it might inspire.
Meanwhile, smart devices have brought gaming to the masses in ways that no-one could have predicted – and many of the mainstream audience aren’t truly aware of – but more investment in wearable technology could unlock new possibilities.
And the ongoing democratisation of development tools and leading engines means – as I keep banging on about to anyone who will listen – absolutely everybody can now be a games developer. There is no telling what game-changing designs or innovative mechanics might emerge unexpectedly from some far-flung corner of the world, capturing the imagination of devs and gamers alike.
I’ll be honest: I hate the ‘there’s never been a better time’ rhetoric people often like to throw into conversations, but it’s hard to think of a period when games development offered this many opportunities to so many people.
Most importantly, regardless of where the industry goes in the future, you can bet that Develop will be there.