A video game Christmas Carol, part 3: The Ghost of Gaming Future

A reader looks towards the future of gaming and of Christmas, where the pandemic may have encouraged habits that will stay for a long time.

‘I will honour Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the past, the present, and the future. The spirits of all three shall strive within me.’

The future is… a tricky one. A hard thing to define. Even the great Walt Disney himself was said to have struggled when it came to designing Tomorrowland in the original Disneyland (and he was Walt Disney!). This is because the future, or rather our perception of the future: what it is, what it is going to be, is always shifting, and changing.

So, theoretically, this is the most challenging of the three Christmas ‘spirit’ articles to write (you can read part 1 here and part 2 here), even though there are so many technologies and gaming innovations which could lead us forward into the gaming nirvana.

Firstly, there are existing technologies which are really coming into their own. With major players like Sony adopting VR into their gaming and business strategy, who knows what level of immersion this might lead us to in the future? With the idea of having to stay at home and stay safe it is perfectly reasonable to expect people wanting to replicate the activities they want to do outside the home… in the home! With games like Wii Fit and, more recently, Ring Fit for the Nintendo Switch, there are even options to help with general health and fitness (if you can find one that’s available to buy!).

User created content is also an emerging area, with games like Dreams on the PlayStation 4 and Minecraft letting players create their own content for others to use and play. Thinking back to Christmas, sharing is an important aspect of this festive time, whether it’s through presents, sharing time or happiness. What could be a better gift than something you have created in a game for all the gamers in the world to play!

Another aspect that could impact the future of Christmas gaming is the social experience. Whether it’s for fun, just to talk to people (or both!); online connectivity has really transformed gaming. With the looming threat of Covid variants and the idea of cross-play between different consoles and even PCs, is it safe to assume families will choose to stay in their own homes and interact through their preferred gaming platform. On a personal level it is certainly something that has been discussed with my own friends and family, even friends who are over the other side of the pond in America.

It can even be used to help those with particular needs, for those who struggle to interact face-to-face in a social setting, games can help people to overcome social barriers and feel like part of a community again. At Christmas it becomes a time when we think about those around us, why not think about those in the greater gaming world around us, through the idea of sharing, creating, and innovating for each other?

Ultimately (and referring to A Christmas Carol), our actions today, yesterday, and tomorrow define who we are. As with gaming, they can be a very useful means to bring about happiness if we choose to use the gaming and technology in a positive and inclusive ways. But again, we must first hold a candle up to ourselves, like Scrooge did in the famous story. We must think: ‘What I have I done, what am I doing and what can I do to make this world a better place?’

As we reflect on this at Christmas, perhaps games could be the way forward to bring about some semblance of peace, togetherness and most importantly, love. Stay safe and wishing you every happiness over this Christmas. As Tim would say, ‘God bless us, everyone!’

By reader Aaron Martin

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email [email protected] and follow us on Twitter.

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