All this week, the BBC News website is looking at the future of video games as seen by some of the prominent figures in the business.
Sony launched the PlayStation 3 at the E3 games expo
Over the next year or so, new consoles such as the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Revolution are set to change the face of gaming.
What are you expecting from the next-generation of game consoles? What sorts of games are you looking forward to? Send us your comments.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
What a load of preposterous hype. "Gamers" indeed! We are talking about escapism, not reality. Instead of pretending that a few very unrealistic graphics and infantile plots and scenarios represent real life, I suggest getting out of the house a bit for some mental stimulation, real "role play" and actual "reality".
Peter, Treviso, Italy
I'm still playing my old Super NES and I love it. The games can be just as challenging as any of that new stuff, just the graphics aren't as 'lifelike'. If I wanted to see lifelike animation, I would put on the telly.
Robert, Sunrise, Florida
Honestly from next generation consoles I'm expecting the graphical and audio improvements to not be as great as people are expecting. Although there will still be "wow" factor, I believe the big advances will come in online gaming and connecting even more people together to game. Ultimately no matter how clever you make AI, it will not be as good as playing against another human being. So any game that provides a great online experience is a must for me.
Mark Ambler, Blackpool, UK
I am a 45-year-old gamer. I have heard the rhetoric regarding "new consoles" so many times now and how often have developers failed to deliver. So many games now lack the innovative spirit or a feel of freshness. I long to play games like Elite or Civilisation on my old Commodore 64. Sure the graphics look aged now but on their release they were cutting edge. So often now we are fed the garbage of poor sequels and buggy games that require a patch to fix on release. Where is the imagination? I long for open-ended games with great gameplay and that have an enduring appeal.
Philip, Salisbury, England
I love the way people are judging the games and how they will play for the next gen consoles before they are even released. Nobody knows what new or used genres we are going to see so let's just be patient. And can we please get rid of this stereotypical view that all gamers are geeks.
Dave Harvey, Stockport, UK, Cheshire
Being a PC gamer I like my games to be a little more involved. I disagree that games are all drivel these days and that gameplay comes second; we only remember the excellent games from the past, not the majority of dross that was released as well. Involving, believable, reactive and personal aspects are what gamers are expecting.
Paul Beckett, London, UK
Personally, as a young, female player of RPGs and pretty much nothing else, I see the genre and video-games in general moving towards a greater degree of realism. Greater ability to physically interact with the world, and better non-player characters. I'd like to see a complete revamp of all fantasy games, too. I'd like to see total innovation, with everything redone, races reconsidered, etc. Right now, if you've played one fantasy game, you get the gist for all of them. When you read a good book (unless you're reading fantasy or sci-fi), every world is dynamic and interesting, with unique character. A book is just selectively included bits of reality stacked into fun plus a plot. Why can't a game be the same?
Elisabeth Yazdzik, NYC, USA
I've been a gamer all my life. I used to be a hardcore gamer, now that I have kids and other responsibilities I play a lot less, but I still hugely enjoy my few hours a week. I'm worried about the increasing production costs of games. There's little doubt that despite the enthusiasm of the game designers seen on your sites pages, the 'money men' are going to control the games released. The number of increasingly lame spin-off titles and movie franchises has already become unbearable for this generation of machines, increasing costs will only make this worse. Risk will go out of the window.
A cautionary tale: Has anyone actually played Oddworld: Stranger? It's fantastic, the design is awesome, the concept is pretty original, and a clearly massive amount of creative love and effort has gone into it, yet it sank without a trace. I believe that the team who created it has largely stopped games production now, they are severely disillusioned (great game though, guys. Our loss). I reckon this fate will await many producers who try and think outside the mould. I love Halo etc, but I can see the power of the next generation being used to make head-shots more realistic, or make Tekken 7's female characters bosoms heave in more detail. This will not be progress, but it will sell.
Ben Lloyd, Sheffield, Uk
During a recent visit to Hong Kong (where I grew up), I stumbled across an old gaming arcade where I used to hang out as a kid. No longer were there any arcade machines but astonishingly the room was blacked out with no light and literally filled with hundreds of networked PC with kids all playing the same game. Even more worryingly was that the arcade seem to cater for every need. A kid could get cigarettes, junk food, use the toilet...whatever. Once you had started gaming, you could stay in the room all day and lose yourself - Is this the future of Gaming? My kids will grow up in the countryside breathing fresh air and playing sports.
I have a PS2, X box, Game Cube, NES and SNES and must admit that recently my most played games are Super Bomberman on the SNES and Super Mario Kart. Although the graphics on my other Consoles are far superior to that of a NES and SNES, at the end of the day it comes down to playability. And both Bomberman and Mario Kart are fast fun and very addictive. The developers should learn from this, as nearly all my mates still agree that the old school games are the best.
Mad Bob, Swindon - UK
Having just read Kathy Vrabeck's report I think I might as well go home and stick my console in the bin. It seems that the games industry is going the same way as the film industry - "sequels rule". I'm fed up of the deja vu feeling of playing games. What I want is something that is different and challenging. But sadly repetition, rather than innovation, is the quicker money maker. Slack!!!
Mark Dibley, London, UK
Anyone who has played Ico, Killer 7, Rez or Little Big Adventure would be well aware that games are an art form. Sequels are commonplace in video games, and are often relied upon by developers to generate vast amounts of cash from the mass market. Normally, I'd object to this, but there are some instances where sequels are welcome additions to the gaming market, notably where there's a continuation of plot from a previous entry in the series. The Metal Gear Solid series and Resident Evil, although franchised are still adored by the hard-core gamer. We all want to be part of a story, why kill creativity?!?!
The Dave, Newcastle
I would have thought that game development would have been a bigger spur to the development of AI than it has been. As it is, all efforts seem to have gone into graphics. Whilst that's good to a degree, most games are fundamentally the same as they were 15 years ago, but with (admittedly) a fantastically better look and gloss to them. But the AI is no smarter than it was a decade or more ago. Let's see more effort going into making the game mentally challenging, with plots and game environments genuinely "open" in format with truly multi-pathed, multi-branching storylines. And with virtual characters that have far more complex AI than they do now!
Gerald Davis, Wales
Games are becoming so expensive to develop that nobody wants to take any risks, and the industry is churning out the same tired old fare over and over again. Is it any wonder that retro gaming is becoming so popular? As a ZX Spectrum developer I can afford to take risks, and experiment with gameplay mechanics in a way that the mainstream games industry cannot. Real innovations in gaming are increasingly happening on retro platforms, not the next generation of consoles.
Yes, the technology is getting better, and the aesthetics are going to be amazing. But the problem is that the quality of the game itself isn't so much dependent on how good the picture is as much as how well it pulls the player in. Games like Half Life, Deus Ex, many of the Final Fantasy games, have believable characters and complex gameplay which creates a unique level of interaction for each game. Lately, I have seen many games actually get dumbed down more, as the graphics get better.
The bottom line is, I don't see the games becoming more fun or interesting... they're just going to look and sound better.
James, Virginia, US
I'd like to see a fantasy adventure game involving real-world GPS mapping and local street maps.
Chris Aubeck, Madrid, Spain
It's all very well having very powerful machines but really something has to be done about the games, At the moment only three or four really good games come out a year, with hundreds of mediocre, rushed, buggy and sometimes downright boring games. Less hype and commercialism and more concentration on making games that are fun to play would be a good step.
Ben Hobbs, Phuket, Thailand
I'm 52 and I'm hooked on World of Warcraft, as is my 15-year-old daughter, her boyfriend, plus my colleague at work. Mad? No, it's absorbing, rewarding, relaxing, and fun. I can't imagine playing anything else.
Alison, Margate, Uk
I am looking games similar to Halo because of the defined and believable graphics.
Terry Olivo, London
Obesity is a major concern and there are also worries about the levels of knowledge and skills our children develop. Interests in traditional culture and art are taking second place to TV and computer games, so what good reason do we have to celebrate the emergence of yet another instrument of generating body fat through inactivity and killing valuable time. Moreover most computer games, far from being constructive or educational are not only a vacuous waste of time but promote violence. The consoles should come with health warnings or better still, be banned entirely.
Mark Peters, London
Soon enough I bet gamers will somehow get into some kind of simulating machine and actually physically "play" instead of just using their fingers. In my eyes, this is where the future of gaming lies.
Sait, Banjul, The Gambia
Having had a look at the trailers online of new games for the next generation, I can't help but feel excited and disappointed. Yes, the graphics almost make it look like you are watching a film, but the basis seems too familiar and maybe even tired. Although I will buy the next gen consoles, I think it is time the gameplay became more dynamic and accessible to all.
Frank, Barrow-in-Furness, UK
Consoles have nothing in terms of speed and real-life quality as a PC. I think going in for newer and better consoles is a mistake. Surely the internet/home PC is the market to be in, as any serious gamer knows. After staring at tiny monitors on handhelds, trying to figure out seriously complicated moves on consoles, having to start over again and again, and with superior graphics, a PC wins over every time. I, myself, love Warcraft too, and it's these role-play games that appeal to me more than blast 'em -ups. Same difference as reading a book, but you get far more involved!
If the games industry just recycle the same tired old formats then people will feel less inclined to invest in the technology. Also why is it just as developers come to the full understanding of a consoles development power do they then have to completely refocus on a new console. I doubt if there has ever been a game released on a modern console that has maxed out the machine. Having said that I am going to by a next gen console or two.
But will the industry be able to dazzle me? I doubt it.
Peter Davies, Ton Pentre, South Wales
All new consoles will focus in stunning visual graphics and multiplayer capabilities, but game developers must stay focused on the ball: good game design and replay value. You can have the best graphics engine and the fastest connection, but if the gameplay is flawed, the fun is gone. We've reached a plateau in game graphics and need to go back to basics: game content. Out with all that gore and violence, team-based and cooperative multiplayer games is where the money is.
Raul, The Netherlands
I love how Michel Cassius talks about how "people" will be able to play 100% of the game. Doesn't he really mean men & boys? Ninety-eight percent of the game players in this world are male (mostly under 45), as are the game developers. If you want to talk about broadening your market, how about some games that interest girls and women? How about games interesting to grandparents? How about MMPORG games that both a grandparent and their grandchild would find enjoyable to play together? Making current games more real and accessible will be good for some but you're ignoring more than 50% of your possible market. Not so clever.
Savana Radley, London, UK
I'd like to see games away from first-person shooters towards more role-play and exploration, story and tale building with unexpected outcomes. Worlds in which you become immersed, with realistic landscapes, peoples and movement and a more "cinematic look". Can the industry supply this?
Clive, Redhill UK
Over the next couple of years we will finally see an acceptance by the more vocal elements of the press that although video games are "games", that does not make them solely entertainment for children. The furore surrounding such classics as GTA will gradually become less and less common as the realisation hits that some games are aimed squarely at adults, not children. I am looking forward to seeing the genius of Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo at work on the next Zelda and Mario games. Nintendo has consistently pushed the medium to its limit and I believe this will continue. I am not looking forward to countless more film tie-ins.
Andras Zoltan, Colchester, UK
For years now, since the advent of home computers and consoles, I have been playing video games - since the Sinclair ZX81 days - and have been impressed with the way technology has moved forward. With the arrival of the Playstation 3 next year, I am awaiting the EA sports titles with baited breath. I'm already a big fan and they can only get better.
David Maxwell, Prestatyn, North Wales
As it stands, it seems that 99% of the games industry is happy reinventing the wheel - the same gameplay, just with updated graphics and spangly effects every few years. I don't see that trend changing with either Microsoft or Sony statements so far. Nintendo are the only company that seems to be emphasising fun over eye-candy.
Alan White, Glasgow, Scotland
Do we really need more reality in games? Has the gameplay experience actually improved from days gone by? Do we truly want immersive reality? The point I'd like to make is that there is increasingly becoming less of a need to use your imagination in these new console games. It's not necessarily a bad thing, just not so much fun in my opinion. Your mind is far superior to any latest and greatest console out there, and we seem to be using it less and less. Yes I confess, I still yearn to replay the Spectrum classic - Hungry Horace and the Spiders.
Ed S, Fareham, UK
With the huge investment required now, and more so in the future, to develop new games, I can worryingly see the same trend as films - blockbusters made to sell to the masses that make the most money back, with little invention or risk taking. Corporate accountants will make the decisions. This applies to the suggestion of Savana - you admit yourself that the majority are male under 45, so why invest millions in a niche market that won't get you a return on your outlay? Is there a 'grandparent' market to appeal to?
Dave, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Oh dear - some very blinkered views here! To Mark Peters: I take it you've not seen the reports on how games playing can stimulate the mind and indeed the body in both children and adults? You show your hand by citing games are played to the detriment of "arts and traditional culture". What on earth makes you think enjoying games, art and other media are mutually exclusive activities? Have you seen wonderful art/game crossovers such as Rez, Electroplankton, Ico and Killer 7? I suspect not. And Caz, PCs are only good for a very small niche of games, mainly MMORPGs and first-person shooters. For the cost of a decent games PC, you could have all three consoles and money to spare - and they'll last you a lot longer before becoming obsolete
Gaz Haman, Edinburgh, UK
Marketing managers with no real experience of the games industry have killed innovation in this country and taken the British developer from being the most innovative in the world to seeing company after company go to the wall. What is needed is a direct line from investor to shop floor developer. Its no secret that the Holy Grail of the games industry is the female market, so let the guys who spawned an industry from their attics and bedrooms use their innovation to take games into the mainstream living room. You just can't do that when a poorly informed marketing manager from another discipline is breathing down your neck to produce more of the same dross because that's what sold last year!
Alan Wood, Brighton
I used to be in the games industry, but left for the services sector. The only people making money in the games industry are the company owners, and the working hours and broken promises would shock you. To make a game today would take over £1m and three to four years of solid work. I can't see the bedroom programmer having any chance at competing with the software houses which are spewing out sequels and variations on the same themes, unless they're an artist, musician, programmer, and incredibly patient and gifted. Good luck if you think you fit the bill.
Games are increasingly about communication and community. They should not be the sole preserve of young men - people of both sexes and all ages love games, yet the console market is dominated by the combative, competitive action genre and the machines stylised to appeal to male youth culture. Innovative free form games using new methods of interaction with objectives which reflect differing ideas of success and reward are needed to take the games world to the next level. Sadly I see little sign of a breakthrough game. Nintendo try with new ideas like Animal Crossing and the DS but somehow they lack the spark at present to invent a game my mum would play. Still waiting for the culture to catch up with the technology.
Paul Miller, Glasgow, UK
There is a vast improvement in current AI over previous incarnations shown to us and their are many more to come. Look to games like The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, with its Radiant AI system. I recommend the same title to those wanting more fuller featured immersive games, even its predecessor, Morrowind was incredibly detailed and immersive. It would seem this is also an increasing trend with games becoming more vast in terms of the area you can travel and more open in what you can do. Look to the latest addition to the GTA series for an example of vast areas to play within and also the ability to do more and more with each title released in the series.
I can honestly say, I am so excited about the next gen consoles. I am a 33-year-old avid Halo 2 player on the Xbox Live platform. Me and my friend openly admit that we get a rush from playing it. Your heart starts pumping faster, your mind goes into over drive. You have to come up with an instant plan for victory, everyone has a job to do, whether it be a driver, pilot, sniper etc. Now isn't that the sort of experience we should be getting from games. For me, Space Invaders, Frogger, Bomberman and so on never had this effect on my mind and body. Wake up, retro just wasn't that exciting, challenging or fun. Bring on the next round of next gen.
Steve H., Canterbury
Personally my favourite type of video game is one that tells a story, like a film or a book if the story or the delivery of the story is flawed the entertainment is not as enjoyable as it could have been. The old Resident Evil series, the Final Fantasy series, Deus Ex and Metal Gear Solid are the types of games that tell a story and therefore keep the player hooked. Creativity rather than technology.
Raby Whyte, Leeds, UK
I'd like to see a fantasy adventure game involving real-world GPS mapping and local street maps.
Chris Aubeck, Madrid, Spain
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