Why The Games Of The Future Are Moving Beyond The Console

Why The Games Of The Future Are Moving Beyond The Console

With the help of partner iQ by Intel, PSFK looks at how gaming culture is evolving.

  • 10 march 2013

Once reserved for socially-awkward teenage boys in suburban basements, video games are now a multi-billion dollar creative industry with an influence on popular culture that rivals that of Hollywood. Sales for big-name games like Halo have even surpassed box-office records, with the release of Halo 4 bringing in $220 million in just one day. To put that figure in context, that’s more than the blockbuster The Avengers earned on the day of it’s release. Ads for big-budget video games also get the same billing as movie trailers, directed by the likes of Guy Ritchie and other A-list stars.

In light of these stats, it’s clear the gaming industry has moved past an alternative form of entertainment to an increasingly integral part of our lives. Advances in technology have enabled changes in gaming consoles and game environments, allowing games to be physically played more places than ever before. Industries from healthcare to education have looked to the addictive nature of gaming to integrate the principles in their own fields, and as technology continues to advance, the definition of what it means to ‘play a game’ will continue to shift. In this piece, created in partnership with iQ by Intel, we’ve outlined a few key trends in how we play games that point to how gaming will influence our lives outside of simple entertainment.

Intel Gaming 2

The widespread adoption and acceptance of gaming was fueled by the explosion of touchscreen smartphones, which have become a powerful gaming console in their own right. This shift has helped change the public’s perception of video games as an acceptable part of daily life. While it may no longer be a stretch to imagine your mother or even your grandmother playing Angry Birds on a smartphone – the scenario just doesn’t make as much sense when that platform is a Gameboy.

A few console developers are catching up with the touchscreen gaming trend by co-opting second screen behavior and adding an extra dimension to the original console experience. The most notable is the Wii U, Nintendo’s latest console (pictured above). The Wii U has a large touchscreen in the middle of the controller so that each player has a private screen that opens up new gameplay dynamics (like having a ‘closed hand’ in a card game, impossible in previous shared-screen multiplayer games). Similarly, the Xbox Smartglass app turns smartphones or tablets into a second screen tethered to whatever’s playing on the Xbox, providing extra info (like an in-game minimap) or a unique control interface. Individual game developers have also created dedicated apps for their popular titles. For example, the app for Call of Duty Elite extends game data to mobile devices so players can keep a watchful eye on the status of their own characters, as well as those of their teammates. Both these types of developments are aimed at freeing gameplay from the confines of a single screen and bringing it into more areas of a player’s life. This effectively improves player retention, since they can ‘be with the game’ when they are away from their console, and increases player engagement since they will have multiple methods through which to interact with the game content.

But while the big-name console makers are pushing the technological envelope with ever-expensive second screens and apps, independent developers are going the other way, by developing platforms that are cheap and open-source. The poster child of this movement is the tiny Ouya game console, which was funded to the tune of $8.5 million on Kickstarter, and will retail for only $99. It uses an Android-based operating system, and all the games are free to try.

This move to open-source gaming will expand who can make and play high-quality games, which will fuel creativity and innovation, in much the same way that touchscreen technology created a whole new audience and genre of games. Add in funding tools like Kickstarter, and developers with a great game idea are no longer subjected to the whims of huge corporate publishers. While it may be a bit early to tell, it certainly appears that the Ouya has knocked down the last barrier standing in the way of widespread distribution of independent games.

Similar to the Ouya is the GameStick, another wildly successful Kickstarter project. It is a small device running the Android operating system that plugs into a TV and can play any of the thousands of games designed for Android devices. Using an included controller, users can play games originally designed for mobile on a big TV. Like the Ouya, the GameStick is breaking down barriers between mediums outside the realm of established game publishers, opening up a new playing field for game creators to make content that can be seamlessly experienced between mobile and TV.


As the technology behind games continues to advance, we are finding more and more creative ways to use games beyond simple entertainment. Making learning fun is something teachers have struggled with forever, and many of us remember those lame educational ‘games’ in middle school (Mavis Beacon, anyone?). But now games have reached the point where they can simulate the real world well enough to be of actual educational value, like the version of Sim City for the classroom that has students think creatively about environmental, social and health problems faced by modern cities. In fact, many games like EVE Online are complex enough that certain playing styles involve many of the same activities and skills that running a business requires. It’s then a small step to create a ‘sub-game’ that focuses on teaching those skills to entrepreneurs in a way that’s much more fun than a series of PowerPoints.

What other industries are being transformed by the principles of gaming? Continue reading  here at iQ by Intel. 

With the help of iQ by Intel, is exploring how technology impacts our lives. iQ by Intel connects readers to the trends and discussions that are moving our planet forward. To read more inspiring stories about how technology is unleashing the world’s human potential to create a better future visit iQ by Intel.


PSFK's Workplace Vision: Leave The Busywork To The Bots

Syndicated Yesterday

In Popular Games, The Recurring Theme Is Exploration

The much-hyped sci-fi sandbox game proved to be as massive as expected, while Pokémon Go continued to prove inescapable

Design Yesterday

The Best In Wearable Tech From The Rio Olympics

PSFK rounds out the Rio Games with our picks for the best gadgets and devices used to track performance


Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Work

See All
Advertising Yesterday

This Cookbook Is Inspired By Brad Pitt’s On-Screen Eating Habits

Learn how to whip up meals and snacks pulled straight from the actor's fictional universe

USA Yesterday

Tour The US National Parks From The Comfort Of Your Home

Google's new 360-degree video feature lets people take a trip to Alaska, Utah or Hawaii and see these marvels of nature up close


Jag Bath

Discount Retail

Augmented & Virtual Reality Yesterday

VR Training For Active Shooter Preparedness

SurviVR is an immersive environment to teach civilians how to protect themselves in dangerous situations

Cities Yesterday

Redesigned London Tube Map Aims To Get People Walking

The updated display illustrates approximately how many steps it takes to walk between stations for a healthier commute

Experiential Marketing Yesterday

Nike Creates An Immersive Pop-Up Fitness Experience In London

The Unlimited You space gave athletes a chance to push their limits farther than ever before


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

PSFK Op-Ed august 24, 2016

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

PSFK Labs Yesterday

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Automotive Yesterday

Uber Now Lets Commuters Pay With Pretax Dollars

The prepaid cards are a partnership with WageWorks, letting uberPool users save up to 40% on their trip

Home Yesterday

Philips Hue Adds Motion Sensor To Control Lights Automatically

The wireless device lets users interact with their environment without needing to press a switch

Home Yesterday

Beacon Device Takes The Pain Out Of Navigating A New Airbnb

Ping provides new guests with a guided tour of the house or apartment through a simple tap of their phone

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Shelf Makes Its Contents Appear To Hover In Midair

The design uses metal tubes to create an optical illusion when viewed from the front

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Interactive Ceiling Responds To People Walking Underneath

The installation features built-in sensors that cause the undulating surface to morph and react to passersby


Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games

Fashion Yesterday

Declutter And Recycle All Of Your Unwanted Stuff

A new app will help catalogue your possessions and give them away as donations when you no longer want them

Advertising Yesterday

Tokyo Concept Store Disguised As A Parking Garage

The retail and cafe project is designed as a hidden treasure for urban explorers

No search results found.