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Too often we preview a new year in gaming and focus only on specific titles. Don’t get me wrong, this can be plenty exciting. It’s always fun to see which games are around the corner, and it’s part of what keeps the industry so exciting. Sometimes bigger stories and broader trends are even more interesting, however, which means it can be fun to look at the coming year in gaming in a more general sense.
Thinking of things this way, and looking over some of what we know, these are my picks for some cool things that might happen in the gaming industry in 2018.
Harry Potter Could Become A Gaming Force
At least one prediction of the biggest game of 2018 landed on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which is a forthcoming title by Niantic (the same company behind the Pokémon GO sensation). This is not, by the look of it, the Pokémon GO-like adaptation for Harry Potter fans, but rather a full new game that will allow players to play their way through a career as a young witch or wizard at Hogwarts. The game itself should be a hit, but as stated this is about potential broader trends, and the exciting thing is imagining that this will turn Harry Potter into more of a gaming force. Save a few early PC games and some LEGO adaptations, Harry Potter really hasn’t produced serious hits in gaming. Maybe now, with the books and films several years behind us, a game like this can launch a new wave of interest.
Casinos Could Take A Leap Forward
Casino gaming is often discussed as if it’s a fringe element of the industry, and that’s fair enough. However, these games have long been right in the thick of innovation. Poker sites got big right when browser-based gaming really became popular; slots and card games were early in mobile app stores and console download stores; more recently, online slots and arcades have made the leap to 3D and embraced high quality graphics. The next logical steps are AR and VR, and though nothing significant has happened on these fronts yet (save one experimental poker game), it won’t be long. We could well see online casinos take a massive leap toward these newer formats in 2018, and it will mean dozens of popular games.
New Forms Of VR Could Emerge
By now we all have a pretty good idea what VR is all about. However, that doesn’t mean we have any idea of all the interesting ways it could be used. Case in point, there’s a sort of suspension workout apparatus called Icaros that seems to hold massive potential for shaping this industry. Described as being “like VR skydiving crossed with planking,” Icaros is meant to give people a workout as they twist their bodies while strapped into a contraption, all with the aim of navigating through a game. There’s no telling what will happen with this specific machine, but it could certainly make for the beginning of a trend toward new twists on VR – and specifically those in which we use our bodies, and not just our hands and eyes.
We Could See AR Glasses
This is one that people are already talking about because Apple is at the center of the idea. Still, it would make for a really cool change in gaming, and a significant improvement on the AR that we’re all still just getting used to. If indeed Apple is on the verge of putting out AR glasses within the year, it’ll be one of the biggest fundamental shifts in how we play games in years – perhaps since the emergence of apps, in fact.