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In 2007, mobile games that were getting us dizzy with excitement included Resident Evil: The Missions, The Fast and the Furious Fugitive and Pyramid Bloxx. Limited by specs, they now look decidedly retro, so what can we expect five years in the future?  We spoke to Aki Jarvinen, Creative Director at Digital Chocolate and one of the world’s only Professors of Gaming to find out.

1. Gameplay will matter even more

By now, audiovisual fidelity in games’ graphics has reached a point where audiences will find it increasingly difficult to perceive the next step, as advances are, arguably, becoming incremental. Thus, more original takes on visual styles will gain ground from photorealistic, immersive recreations of actual events, people, and places.

More comprehensive evolution in the visceral nature of video game will eventually follow, but for the next 5 years they will still remain in the R&D departments of entertainment electronics manufactures.

2. Games will become free services

Ease of discovery and paying a quick buck for convenience are already ruling players’ hearts, just think of the application marketplaces out there. Increasingly, various types of games will adopt the ‘free to play’ model, where money is not spent in individual purchases of the game, but rather, the game is distributed for free. This creates a basis for revenue from a percentage of players who stay and pay.

Another concurrent development is games becoming services, something that keeps on evolving throughout their lifecycle. The service aspect reinforces taking game brands across platforms: the hit game you begin to play in your browser can also be accessed via your phone – as part of a platform-agnostic game service.

3.Video game consoles will adapt and evolve

The buzz is that those boxes we have come to know and love as play stations, xboxes, nintendos, etc. will wither in the hands of mobile platforms, new price points, in-app purchases, and digital distribution in general.

‘Consoles will die’ has been a popular provocation lately, but in 5 years the role of a dedicated gaming machine will not go away. – consoles will not die, but adapt and evolve. But where into – to televisions as a set of their applications?

4. Game design will break out of games

Already now, all around us, media producers are trying to engage us and make us stick to their products. Here learnings from game design will play a bigger part – badges and points as rewards for your activity with a product or a service are just a feeble start; more intricate mechanisms from games will seek to permeate your everyday use of the most mundane things.

The next years will truly signal the beginning of the ‘ludic age’: we will find more and more ‘playful’ ways imposed on us when consuming media.

5.Game makers will gain more respect

As a consequence of the above, people will start realizing that game design is a craft that demands talent and attention to detail. Indie Game: The Movie is a recent documentary film that probes the mindset of independent game developers, companies that might consist of one to two guys.

With the huge success of a game like Minecraft, the rise of the indie is definitely upon us, and it is only going to gain momentum. As the documentary shows, these developers use games as their medium of personal expression, trying to put their flaws and insecurities put into a game. This presents and equivalent for games to that of art house cinema, and it is here to stay.

Some fascinating insights, but how do you think we’ll be playing in the near future? Let us know your predictions below.